Aviation News, Headlines & Alerts
Category: <span>compensation</span>

Lufthansa: Safekeeping Profits or Passengers?

crash site image

Accident to the Airbus A320-211, registered D-AIPX and operated by Germanwings, flight GWI18G, on 03/24/15 at Prads-Haute-Bléone

According to the BEA, they will release the final report on Germanwings 9525 on Sunday, March 13, 2016 during a press briefing. I plan to be there.

Although the public has not seen the final report, and indeed, as the investigation has not yet even been completed, the world already understands what happened aboard this tragic flight. What we really do not understand—and perhaps never will—is what drove Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz to research cockpit door security and methods of committing suicide. We do not know what drove a depressed human being to impel the plane and all the lives in his safekeeping into the side of a French mountain, condemning every soul aboard that plane to death. We do not know the devils that hounded him into this cold-blooded act. We only mourn, perhaps, his loss of humanity, as we mourn alongside the grieving families who have been robbed of their loved ones and their rightful lives.

All passenger/families received a total of 8 million euros, divided equally among them. Media reports on what passengers received from Lufthansa varies.

In the German media, the Rheinische Post claimed officials of the German airline said families of the 144 passengers have obtained different compensation amounts. It is also reported that Lufthansa group has paid 11.2 million euros ($12.48 million) to the families. Additional “uncalculated” compensation in “property damages” is still coming from Lufthansa to the families.

This compensation…coming from Lufthansa, whose 2014 profit was declared “flat” at a mere $31.7 billion, announced in October of 2015 a nine-month net profit of €1.75 billion ($ 1.97 billion), up 262.7% from €482 million. The tragedy which destroyed 150 lives, and crippled all of their families appears to have left Lufthansa’s bottom line untouched.

Do we also mourn and grieve and condemn Lufthansa? The depth of the ethics and principals of this many billion dollar company—the largest airline in Europe—remains to be seen. We can ask ourselves if this is a high-principled company of good repute, of sterling honor. We need not conjecture long. A tangible answer will be obvious when these decisions are made. We will see where lie their priorities when we learn how they treat the families whose lives hang in the balance in their custodianship.

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MH17 Crash: Mother of German Victim Sues Ukrainian Government

Malaysia AirlinesMother of a German victim of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has sued the Ukrainian government for keeping the airspace open during military conflict.

The MH17, en-route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17 in the Ukrainian airspace. It is presumed that the plane crashed after it was shot by a surface-to-air missile fired from Donetsk region of Ukraine. All 298 people aboard the plane were killed in the crash.

According to media reports, the mother of a German victim has claimed that the government of Ukraine did not close the airspace during military conflict because of millions of dollars which the country makes through foreign commercial flights. She has filed the case in the European Court of Human Rights, asking for about $1 million as a compensation for the suffering she had to endure.

Renowned German lawyer Elmar Giemula, who is a professor of aviation law, will be presenting the case in court.

Compensation after Fifteen Years

I know I’ve said before how cases take a long time. Sometimes they drag on in unexpected ways. Take for example the LAPA case. On August 31 1999 Líneas Aéreas Privadas Argentinas scheduled Flight 3142 (LV-WRZ) to fly Buenos Aires–Córdoba with a hundred and one persons aboard. The twenty-nine year old Boeing 737-204C failed to get in the air because the flight crew forgot to put the flaps in the appropriate position for flight. Instead of shooting into the air, the plane sped through the perimeter fence, across a street, struck a car and collided with a median and machinery on the road.

The accident took sixty-five lives, two of them not even on the plane. Forty aboard were injured, seventeen of them seriously. NTSB records say there were 80 fatalities and 21 minor injuries.

That’s what is widely known. What many do not know is that after the accident, nine families were given the wrong bodies. Those bodies were exhumed, checked, delivered to the correct families, and reburied at the cost of Argentina’s First Chamber of the House. The financial cost associated with all of this was covered. Not the emotional cost.

Three of those families affected will be compensated 100 thousand dollars plus interest.

In my heart of hearts, I do believe no amount of money can ever compensate for the wear and tear on the families due to the mix-up, even if at the time, the hasty mistake was well-meaning (or expedited due to politics.) Can you imagine what the families went through, seeing the resting places disturbed, then having to endure new funerals? It must have been like losing them more than once—refreshing the whole misery of loss a multiple of times. I cannot help but wonder about the families who were not compensated. I wonder if it has been so long that there is no one left to pay.

This can be of no assurance to the families of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. It is further proof that aviation crash cases do take a long time. Tragedy is tragedy. There is no best case scenario in a tragedy.

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Will Yemenia Airways Be Held Accountable at Last?

In 2007 there was this Airbus A310 that failed to pass inspection in France and was therefore banned from French Airspace. The plane was still in use though. Yemenia Airlines quit flying the plane over French Airspace, limiting its routes to non-euro airspace like the hop from Sanaa to the Comoros.

Listen, I’ve heard some bad things about some planes but the descriptions I saw of this plane are so vivid I remember them, even though its been nearly five years. Frankly, the description sounded straight out of Romancing the Stone like the bus that takes Kathleen Turner (romance novelist Joan Wilder) to Cartagena, Colombia—crowded to the gills, livestock inside, seats rolling around, standing room only, everything that was portrayed in the movie, except (one hopes) people hanging off the outside of the plane. This rickety plane, which failed to meet safety standards continued to be in use until it crashed one stormy night in 2009.

Now, five years later, France is charging Yemenia Airlines with manslaughter.

I wonder at the timing. Apparently Yemenia Airlines is no longer on the EU banned list.

I wonder if they waited for Yemenia Airlines to become more solvent before they charged them.

I wonder if International Lease Finance Corporation is going to be held accountable. They leased the plane to Yemenia; and, like a father who hands his fifteen year old the keys to his car, they could have taken away the keys, or withheld them till the plane was brought up to code.

I wonder if the delay was five years worth of research, and maybe evidence found.

I wonder if another accident or enlightening incident happened that pointed the finger at Yemenia.

I wonder if it was pressure from the families of the 153 passengers and crew (and little Bahia Bakari the twelve year old miracle survivor) aboard that international flight from Sana’a, Yemen to Moroni, Comoros that crashed on 30 June 2009.

Pressure from the families brings change. I have a lot of confidence in family groups. Plane crash victims are united by a common cause, a cause which is ethical and pragmatic and yet impossible, because they are seeking justice when there can really be none. Because all these people want, if they could have their way, would be to have their loved ones back. They have the power of right on their side; and to make a galvanizing cause even more magnetic, they are fighting for the safety of every future airline passenger. I wish my friend Hans Ephraimson-Abt, who died last October, could be here to witness the charges being brought. He lost a daughter when her plane was shot down in 1983, and ever after made it his business to advocate for families. I think of him now because up until October, whenever I’d post an editorial concerning crashes, or family groups, he would always write back with encouragement, or some pithy bit of advice.

Maybe I should be objective. After all, helping families in crashes is my business. But when you’re on the front lines of aviation safety trying to get better treatment for victims and the families of victims, it doesn’t take long to feel very personal. There are a lot of people who saw those headlines that France is charging the carrier with manslaughter who think that after four and a half years, it is about time. I just hope that somehow the 152 victims—and Hans—could know that the responsible parties may yet be held accountable.

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Compensation Begins

Without their admission of fault, compensation has begun by Bond Aviation Group whose helicopter crashed the Clutha pub in Glasgow and injured dozens and killed ten.

A statement by Bond Aviation Group said that “Most claims should be capable of being settled without delay…However, for complex claims which may take longer to resolve, and where appropriate, we will make interim payments without the need for each party to apply to the court.

After the accident, Eurocopter issued a Safety Information Notice.


Eurocopter has issued a Safety Information Notice (SIN) to operators of the EC135 across the world regarding the issue involving the fuel indication and alert system discovered by Bond during normal service operations on Wednesday 11th, which we immediately reported to Eurocopter and the appropriate authorities. The SIN states: “Following this incident, fuel system functionality tests performed by Bond Air Services and two other EC135 operators in Europe have revealed possible similar supply-tank fuel gauging errors on some aircraft.”

As soon as we discovered this issue, in line with our commitment to the highest standards of safety, we took the prudent decision to temporarily suspend service operations whilst we conducted checks on our fleet of EC135s. The results of these tests were subsequently validated by Eurocopter, and appropriate repairs made before returning the aircraft to service. We also took the decision to increase safety barriers by mandating that all our EC135s should maintain a minimum of 90kg of fuel onboard at all times. All our EC135 aircraft are now fully operational and are available for missions with our air ambulance and police customers.

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What is the Value of a Human Life?

In case you forgot, Dana Air Flight 992 is the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft en route from Abuja to Lagos, Nigeria which crashed on June 3rd 2012, in the Iju-Ishaga neighbourhood of Lagos, demolishing a furniture works and printing press building.

The accident, a combination of engine failure and subsequent forced landing, killed 163 people, ten of them on the ground. Eleven miles from the airport, the MD-83 crashed on its tail. It and the neighborhood went up in flames.

Why do I bring this up now, a little over a year later?

Because 11 families have received $100,000 each–

Because sixty-five families whose compensation payments have not been made, due largely to documentation issues and they are suing Dana Air —

Dana Air claims “95 of 125 families have received interim compensation of $30,000.”

I have been reading rhetoric lauding Dana Air for making what someone calls “unprecedented progress” in paying compensation.

Putting the value of a human life at $100,000 is lowballing the value of life. I am surprised that anyone would be commending such devaluation.

Is the operator looking for a gold medal for forking over a mere $100,000 for a loss of life?

Is this all a life is worth in that part of the world or is this something Dana insurer is declaring a fair compensation?

Passengers denied fair compensation’ by British Airways

Here’s the situation–after the problematic Oslo flight, British Airways paid for food and hotel accommodation for stranded passengers who had been on the flight, but they deny further compensation. This is apparently British Airways attitude in regard to “thousands of passengers” impacted by the closures caused by the BA flight, according to Travel Weekly.

BA’s cancellation of 200 flights after the Oslo flight issue led to Heathrow’s brief closure (of two runways.) 200 flight cancellations affects a whole lot of people.

In this case, the European Commission’s new guidelines are going to be tested. Clyde and Co. said if the closure was a bird strike, BA would probably be off the hook, but if it was due to faulty maintenance, that’s their responsibility.

In my opinion, BA deserves all the ass kicking they get and a whole lot more for their laxity in accepting responsibility. I hope the passengers all sue for their damages. Maybe, just maybe a lawsuit will send a message to the operators of huge airline companies.

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Lion Air Compensation

Lion Air is compensating the passengers of the plane that crashed in Bali on April 13. The 101 passenger (we don’t know if the 7 crew are included) is handing out $5600 to each passenger.

Lion Air is working with Jasa Raharja, an Indonesian insurance company to cover the medical bills for five injured passengers. The insurance company is paying up to IDR 25 million ($2500) and the airline is covering anything in excess of that.

Unofficial reports state the plane was flying low.

Twenty-five people have yet to receive their compensation.

The alcohol and drug tests of the crew, cockpit voice recorder, and the flight data recorder are still in process. No conclusions have been public on the cause of the accident.

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100 Dana ground victims demand compensation

More than 100 ground victims are currently demanding compensation for property damage from the Dana plane crash last June. Claims running into billions of naira.

At one point, they were told that the Lagos government planned to take the land to build a memorial to the crash victims. Owners have to provide valid certificates of occupancy to begin the process.

News agencies report that N2.2bn is the total sum to be paid to the relations of the 153 that died in the Dana aircraft but payment information is unverified, and many say their claims have not been satisfied. Likewise unconfirmed is the statement that insurance companies have paid an initial settlement of N418.94m to relations of 85 victims.

Only two relatives have reported they received their “full” settlement.

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South Bend Hawker Crash Update

A news agency has reported about the clean up of the plane crash in South Bend on March 13, 2013.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has observed the scene and is part of the team assessing the damage. NTSB said that the clean-up process generally “falls on the source that caused the contamination. Since the damage came from that private jet, its owner and/or insurance company would be responsible.”

Firemen who are working the scene will be paid by the South Bend Fire Dept, but the insurance company will probably repay the SBFD.

Insurance companies are also key in providing compensation to families, especially when there is a traceable failure.

The two aboard the flight, Wes Caves and Steve Davis were ejected from the plane and were found inside one of the houses that was damaged in the crash. Caves owned 7700 ENTERPRISES OF MONTANA LLC which is the plane’s owner of record.

The cause of the HAWKER BEECHCRAFT CORP Premier jet #N26DK crash has not yet been determined.

Survivor Video

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Air blue Crash Heirs Case Hits Immobile Object

If you’re wondering about the Airblue 202 case, it has run into the politics of Pakistan. The situation has been piled high with difficulty. Even though I am an optimist and see opportunity in every difficulty, even though I have a great team of attorneys in Pakistan, and a great team here in the states coordinating on this case, there comes a time when we must realize where we stand. Despite our efforts, with the present laws and political situation, helping the families is like patching shattered glass with paste. It has been a very difficult to make things stick. Or to change metaphors, it has been an uphill climb.

The Flight: 28 July 2010, Airbus A321, Air Blue Fight 202, en route from Karachi to Islamabad

146 passengers and 6 crew members flew into a mountain near the airport. Witnesses wondered why it seemed as if “the plane had lost balance, and then we saw it going down.”

Why it was flying so low? Why did it strike the mountain? Audio and a report were released that seemed to answer those question—lack of coordination in the flight crew.

Our study of the audio indicates the pilots are served tea early on, then…

  • Confusion ensues in the cockpit, caused by some unknown reason.
  • Wrong settings introduced into the settings that were already abnormal.
  • A tower operator who had gone for coffee was complacent.
  • Aircraft flew lower than normal.
  • Abnormal personality traits/interaction reflecting mistakes in the cockpit.
  • Weather and apprehension and strange out of norm complacency by the FO when he realizes they are going to die

When the audio was released and studied, it became clear there was no teamwork between the pilot Perve Iqbal Chaudhary and the first officer Muntajib Ahmed.

The pilot had 35 years and more than 25,000 hours of flying experience but made inexplicable mistakes and demeaned the co-pilot. The first officer was aware of the danger and tried to amend the situation but he had been so disheartened beforehand by sharp questions putting the first officer “in his place.”

He was unaccountably meek for a former F-16 Pakistan Air Force fighter pilot. The pilot did not properly respond to Air Traffic Control directives and automated cabin warning systems and flew the plane into a mountain. Air Traffic Control responses were less than professional. The first officer appeared helpless and ineffective.

On January 17,2013, two and a half years after the accident, the Peshawar High Court closed proceedings for the Airblue compensation case.

Counsel was directed to withdraw the client’s petition from the Islamabad High Court or the the Peshawar High Court. The client refused to do so on the basis that the cases were different. The court closed the case because the heirs of the victims had had filed an independent lawsuit at Islamabad High Court.

We believed the Airblue compensation case had merit. The pilot committed the error. The first officer was ineffective. They were Airblue employees.

Yes, there was pilot error, but the airline is doubly responsible, because the flight crew did not have adequate CRM training. (COCKPIT Resource Management/Crew Resource Management) Absolutely what happened in the case was the result of the airline failing to establish a working protocol.

It’s like children at school practicing a fire drill so they know what to do when a crisis occurs. Fire drills save lives. They prevent missteps in the face of danger. They give the people in trouble a set of directions to follow that will get them out of the jam they are in. A drill answers questions ahead of time, so precious time is not wasted figuring out what to do. Without the drill, what happens when disaster strikes? Chaos. Loss of life.

I feel bad for the people. First they lose their families. Then they don’t get all the compensation available to them.

Take a look at the safety recommendations from the report (pasted below).

See how 3.1-3.5 and 3.7 all duplicate the same working environment issue? Investigators recognize the troubled working environment. Today’s flight crews are taught CRM which means they have safe practices in place in case the captain is incapacitated and starts to fly into mountains like the captain of Air Blue 202.

But realistically, will recommendations change AirBlue? Will Air Blue be able to implement non-traditional interpersonal relations on the job? And if they can not, how will they ever fly safely with a first officer culturally unable to do his job?

The first officer was ineffective in securing the plane; and sadly, the court appears to be equally as ineffective in getting justice for some of the heirs of the victims.

Re: Investigation Report -AB-202 CHAPTER – 13 :


13.1 All aircrew be re-briefed on CFIT avoidance and Circling Approach procedures
and a strict implementation of this procedure be ensured through an intensive
monitoring system.

13.2 Aircrew scheduling and pairing being a critical subject be preferably handled /
supervised by Flight Operations.

13.3 The implementation of an effective CRM program be ensured and the syllabus of
CRM training be reviewed in line with international standards.

13.4 Existing aircrew training methodology be catered for standardization and
harmonization of procedures.

13.5 Human factor / personality profiling program for aircrew be introduced to predict
their behaviour under crises.

13.6 Instrument landing procedure for RWY-12 be established, if possible.

13.7 Safety Management System be implemented in ATS as per the spirit of the ICAO
document (doc. 4444).

13.8 New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA) be completed and made functional on

13.9 Visual augment system (Approach Radar Scope) be installed in control tower to
monitor the positions and progress of aircraft flying in the circuit.

13.10 Review of the existing Regulations for the compensation and their expeditious
award to the legal heirs of the victims be ensured.

13.11 Adequacy of SIB resources comprising qualified human resource and equipment
be reviewed.

13.12 Information to public on the progress of the investigation process through the
media by trained / qualified investigators of SIB be ensured on regular intervals.

13.13 NDMA be tasked to acquire in-country airlift capability for removal of wreckage
from difficult terrain like Margalla etc. As an interim arrangement, some foreign
sources be earmarked for making such an arrangements on as and when
required basis.

13.14 Civil Police Department be tasked to work out and ensure effective cordoning and
onsite security arrangements of crashed aircraft wreckage at all the places
specially remote / difficult hilly locations.

13.15 Environment Control Department be directed to recover the ill effects of
deterioration / damages caused to Marghalla hill due to the crash.

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€10,000 Awarded for Child Trauma

Two year old Emma Reddan witnessed a Sikorsky S76 piloted by Bill Curry crashing in the Neptune Hotel car lot. The chopper’s rotor blade struck a lamp post, resulting in the crash.

Emma Reddan suffered from separation anxiety disorder.

In Civil court, Judge Matthew Deery approved a €10,000 settlement for Emma Reddan from Curry and GP Helicopter Services Ltd, of Woodstown Dale, Knocklyon, Dublin, and Barrack Construction Limited, Thomastown, Caragh, Naas, Co Kildare.

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N36 Million Awarded to Families of Police Chopper Crash Victims

The families of late DIG Haruna John, AC Garba Yalwa (Pilot), CSP Alexander Pwol-Ja (co-pilot,) and Sgt Sonatian Shirunam (orderly to the DIG) were given bank cheques of the insurance covers ranging from N9 million to N2 million by Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar.

Four property owners who sustained damages were awarded compensation.

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Dana Compensation Delays

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Peter Tonna

What: Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83 en route from Abuja to Lagos, Nigeria
Where: Iju neighborhood, Lagos
When: June 3, 2012
Who: 153 passengers
Why: NAICOM told seminar attendees that the $70,000 per Dana Plane Crash victim payment is contingent on the death certificate and letter of administration, and 70 per cent of Dana Air Crash Claim settlements have been delayed due to families being unable to submit death certificates and letter of administration.

58 families have been paid $30,000 (the initial 30%) that is due 30 days after the crash. On verification of the correct claimants, the balance of the claims should be covered by Prestige Assurance, six Nigerian insurance companies and Lloyds and Lloyds Associates.

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Dana Air Interim Payments Offered

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Peter Tonna
What: Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83 en route from Abuja to Lagos, Nigeria
Where: Iju neighborhood, Lagos
When: June 3, 2012
Who: 153 passengers
Why: Dana air stated that it is fully aware of the mandatory requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), for interim benefits to be paid to the families of the victims within 30 days of the accident.

Although 68 families have completed their insurance compensation documentation, only nine families were given $30,000 each, having been the only ones to successfully run the legal gauntlet.

Beneficiaries said the interim payment fell short of their expectations.

Claim forms must be taken to Yomi Oshikoya & Co, for verification. Yomi Oshikoya & Co was appointed by the insurers in Lagos.

Dana Air attempted to distribute cheques as interim compensation to some individuals made homeless by the crash. Dana Air prepared N500, 000 for one of the victims, Mr. Daniel Omowunmi, N100, 000, each to two occupants of the boys’ quarters and N200, 000 each to six families in the block of flats. Full payment of the compensation by the insurance company is pending. The lawyer rejected the checks as inadequate and also not all of the victims were included.

In George’s Point of View

Interim payments, that is good.

It’s Lloyds of London.

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AirBlue in Defiance of Court

Although the court has ordered compensation, a spokesman of victims told the Peshawar High Court that “AirBlue has communicated to petitioners that compensation will be given to them once they step down and cases are withdrawn from court.” AirBlue also asked for a “universal relief agreement” release form for the 152 companies potentially responsible banning victims from suing.

The chief justice advised the victims rep to file an application of contempt of court, and promised to continue the case until every heir is compensated.

In George’s Point of View

AirBlue should be taking the high road on this, and stop dragging their feet. The tragedy brought to a halt the lives of too many, robbed families of their futures. How can any of these families affected ever have any peace? Why—after already causing the ultimate harm to the victims, and the families of victims—must the airline do everything in their power to make the situation even worse?

From the moment we are infants who learn to trust our feet to carry us, standing at the sides of our cribs, toddling across our parent’s floors into schools, and adulthood and life beyond, we are only able to stand on our own feet, to walk on our own feet, to negotiate the ground beneath us because we learn a sense of control. We know where the ground is, which way is up. We learn where we can place our feet just so, how to move, to balance, and how to negotiate the rules and laws and physics of the real world so that we can take the next step in our lives, and the next, and the next. All of this occurs because we learn to trust our environment, to trust ourselves in it.

A tragic event like a plane crash turns our perceptions, our world, our lives inside out. It turns the ground to the ceiling. Our perception of reality is instantly distorted, turning peace and family into an ongoing horror. How can we take the next step when the ground beneath us has been stolen away?

A tragedy like this shocks everyone–not just the families, but everyone who learns of the event–we are all left with the sense of being a boat unmoored, with the knowledge of a loss of control of the setting and circumstance of our lives. Everyone who learns of a crash like that of Air Blue faces a realization of the frailty of life. The word “shock” is appropriate, for the sensation is not unlike a zap of electricity that sizzles our nerve endings. For those of us who did not lose anyone, we may have an instant jolt, an instant awareness an instant empathy of the depth of grief, horror, pain suffered by survivors; but for survivors that jolt is no instant. It stretches on indefinitely into a future rendered bleak and dead.

Healing may come; a sense of life may return, or even a sense of carpe diem. But even with healing, there is a loss of innocence, a loss of trust in life, in belief of “the future” because, after all, how grim the future is without our loved ones in it.

For the families, reparation can never be made. How can they truly be “repaired” if the loved ones they lost can never be returned? The sense of the wholeness of their lives is forever a shattered glass. It is the responsibility for Jet Blue (and even for any of the 152 companies who are indeed partially responsible) to deliver promise instead of excuse, blessing instead of denial, empowerment instead of refusal, expedition instead of delay.

There is a lot of guilt and responsibility sitting squarely in the lap of Air Blue.

Airbus A380 Wing Cracks at root of Emirates Compensation Plan.

Emirates Airline is seeking compensation from Airbus for loss of revenue due to grounded Airbus A380s.

Safety engineers found cracks in almost all Airbus A380 planes inspected.

Emirates is not alone. Qantas Airways grounded one of its planes for up to a week following the discovery of 36 separate cracks in wing parts. European Air Safety Agency (EASA) recommended examination of all Airbus A380s in the Qantas fleet and 20 aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines.

The Airbus list price is $390 million. France-based Airbus is not expected to turn a profit before 2015.

Judge Interprets Widow as Unentitled. Canadian Charter is No Common Carrier

Mark McLean had a million dollar life insurance policy under Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company, through Sears Canada Inc. When he was killed in a Vancouver Island plane crash three years ago, it seemed an open and shut case that his widow would get an accidental death benefit of $1 million under the 2007 policy. McLean was one of four Seaspan employees on an amphibious Grumman Goose flight from Port Hardy to Chamiss Bay.

But the policy was only valid for the fare-paying passenger of common carrier. The charter restricted to employees or contractors of Seaspan does not qualify as a common carrier. The The Honourable Mr. Justice Bracken found that “In this case, the aircraft was not operating as a regularly scheduled airline and was instead under a charter restricted to employees or contractors of Seaspan. It was a flight where Seaspan determined who the passengers were, the time of the flight and its destination. Thus, it did not fit within the definition of “common carrier” under the accidental death benefit rider.”

The widow was denied the accidental death benefit of $1,000,000 under the policy.

In George’s Point of View

Unfortunately, a judge must base his opinion on the wording of the policy.

The Judge had no choice. The policy excluded a non fare paying trip. Everyone should take advice from Insurance 101 and get out the magnifying glass. Read the fine print. It is still valid advice.

Insurance Companies salivate when they win a case like this. The agents who sell these policies, even they don’t know what they are selling and if they do, fail to explain all the fine print that will be included in the policy if the proposed insured buys a policy, or fail to use a combination of Life Insurance and Accidental Death Insurance that combine to cover all eventualities.

No doubt when Mark McLean got on that plane, he was confident of his coverage. I believe that as Seaspan regularly chartered that flight exclusively for their employees, either they should have provided insurance coverage, or made certain that the employees are otherwise covered. Perhaps they too needed to take a magnifying glass to their policies as well.

Stupid, almost a scam, my opinion, misleading, overall.

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Back in Court over Mangalore Ruling

Tuesday, ruling about the May 2010 Boeing crash in Mangalore,India, the Indian Supreme Court apex court bench issued a notice to Air India and the government on a petition seeking a minimum compensation of Rs 75 lakh for each of the 158 passengers.

Senior counsel Harish Salve told the court that under the Montreal convention the national carrier was obliged to pay a minimum compensation of 100,000 SDRs (special drawing rights) to families of the passengers who died in the crash.

The court final hearing of the case is scheduled in April.

Read More Mangalore Crash: Air India Express Boeing 737-800

Widow Awarded $10 Million for Wrongful Death in Chopper Crash

The widow of John Goble was awarded $10 Million for wrongful death after the chopper he was in was flown between two electrical towers, striking the power lines. The vintage 1951 military helicopter was en route to an aircraft and classic car show in Riverside, CA. The crash occurred on Nov 7, 2009, over two years ago.

Goble co-founded Sectra North America, the North American unit of Linköping, Sweden-based PACS firm Sectra, in 1997, and had served as its president ever since. Prior to that, Goble was medical marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard’s workstation division.

Two million was awarded in compensation for lost wages; the remainder was for loss of companionship. The pilot owned Classic Rotors, a vintage aircraft museum.

A case against Goble and the utility company involving the surviving family of another deceased passenger, James Jantz, is still pending.

Indian Civil Aviation Official Meets with Mangalore Crash victims

Vayalar Ravi, Indian Civil Aviation Minister met or called (on the 18th) victims of the Mangalore crash to discuss their compensation claims. A meeting on the 19th included representatives from the airline, the government and the insurance company.,

The crash occurred in May of 2010, when the Dubai-Mangalore Air India Express jet overshot the runway, killing 158 people aboard.

However other business was also being handled during the meetings.

The outcome of the meetings has not yet been released.

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British Court Sentences Woman in Airborne Biting case

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Fred Seggie

What: Thomson Boeing 767-300, en route from Manchester to to Punta Cana Dominican Republic
Where: Bermuda
When: Occurred:Nov 5th 2010
Sentenced: Aug 19th 2011
Who: 45 year old British Citizen
Why: While Charity worker Carol Close’s flight had been delayed for 30 hours in Manchester with technical problems, the depressed woman passed the time by drinking beer and two mixed drinks. Probably not a good idea.

Six hours into the November 5, 2010 flight, the woman attacked her husband and other individuals aboard the flight. Her husband moved to another seat to get away from her, and Close then bit and kicked a flight attendant (or two) who attempted to restrain her. Then she started yelling.

The captain diverted to Bermuda where Carol Close was arrested.

On Aug 19th 2011, Close pleaded guilty to “two charges of assault and one of affray.”

British Court sentenced her to a suspended 6-months jail term, £2700 British Pounds. (£200 compensation to cabin crew, plus £2,476 to Bermuda Police)

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US$5,850 to Crash Victims

What: Merpati Nusantara Xian MA-60 en route from Sorong to Kaimana
Where: Kaimana, West Papua
When: May 7, 2010 12:21 pm
Who: 21 passengers (including 2 children and a baby), 4 crew, 2 technicians
Why: After flying a holding pattern for a quarter of an hour, the plane was on its final approach when it crashed in shallow water .3 miles before it reached the runway. On impact with the water, the plane broke in two and sank, with the passengers trapped within. Officials say bad weather and low visibility (6,600 ft) are responsible for the crash.

Crash victims are being paid Rp 50 million (US$5,850) by State insurance firm PT Jasa Raharja, according to published reports. The total is 1.35 billion Rp. Reports do not say if this is an interim payment.

The Only U.S. Family Settles

The families of Mike and Anne Harris have settled their lawsuit against Air France. Michael was 60, from Greenville, South Carolina, a graduate of Clemson University, an expert in geology and oil field operations with Devon Energy in Rio and West Africa Group. (Devon Energy is based in Oklahoma.) Ann was 54, from Lafayette. She suffered from Fibromyalgia, was Fibromyalgia Association of Houston volunteer and a physical therapist. They had been married sixteen years, by the time they booked the fatal flight; and the trip was business and pleasure, because they were going to a training seminar in Paris, and for vacation. They left behind them friends in Lafayette, Houston and Brazil where they had lived.

Mike and Anne Harris were the only Americans on the flight. According to their lawyer, the case has settled.

Crash History
The 4 year old Air France Airbus A330-200 en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris when it went missing over the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009. Two hundred sixteen passengers (including seven children and one baby, 82 women and 126 men) and 12 crew were aboard. There were two Americans and 60 French citizens were on the plane. Italy said at least three passengers were Italian.The pilot had 11,000 hours of flying experience, and 1,700 hours flying this aircraft.

The last known radio contact was an automatic message made at 0133 GMT when the plane was near the Island of Fernando de Noronha; since then, the airplane has made no radio communication. Fifteen minutes after flying through a storm and strong turbulence, there was an electrical short-circuit. Search planes left Fernando de Noronha Island looking for signs of the plane concentrating in an area 230 miles off the northeast Brazil coast. The flight left Rio at 7 p.m. and was expected in Paris on Monday at 11:15 a.m. The wreckage broke apart, the pieces scattered at sea, and the black boxes were not recovered until May 2011.

It is an interesting time to settle the case–right when the world is on the cusp of discovery of what caused the crash.

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Fly Air Tatarstan. Standing UP

What: Tatarstan Airlines en route from Antalya, Turkey to Ekaterinburg, Russia
Where: aboard the plane
Why: Instead of the 148-seat Boeing 737 that was booked, they had a 142-seat 737; and 6 passengers were given the choice of waiting for the next flight or flying standing up. During turbulence, the passengers sat on the floor. The airline offered them $200 in compensation. The passengers are asking for $4,700.

(Can you imagine how much they’d be asking if they were in the US?)

What is this, a third world country where there are no rules and laws about flight safety? Well, Tatarstan flies out of Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia.

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