Bhoja Air on Monday announced it would pay Rs0.5million as initial compensation to each family of the 127 people who died in the April 20 plane crash.
But legal heirs would have to prove their relationship by submitting succession certificates, a document that is obtained from courts after a long and cumbersome process.
The airline said there was no other way to verify legal heirs. “In the case of Air Blue crash, there were a lot of disputes as many people claiming to be relatives came forward for the compensation,” said the airlines spokesman Jasir Abro. A statement issued by the airline said: “ Bhoja Air assures the nation that it is here to stay and will facilitate its future passengers and families of the victims on the ill-fated Flight B4213 of April 20, 2012 in every possible way.”
Abro did not say how much the total insurance cover of the aircraft was. “We are calculating the insurance liability,” he said.
Bhoja’s flight B4 213 crashed a few minutes before it was to land in Islamabad. It flew from Karachi.
Under the Carriage by Air Act of 2012, the airline has to pay a minimum compensation of Rs5 million to each of the affected families in any case.
Legal experts, however, say insurance companies can pay much more than that. Airlines don’t disclose the entire insurance coverage.
Around 35 families who lost their loved ones in the Air Blue plane crash in 2010 have decided to move court for compensation that runs into millions of dollars, according to one of the lawyers.
Advocate Omer Farooq Adam said an airline’s liability is unlimited if it is proved that the plane had some problem or it crashed due to the pilot’s error.
Bhoja Air’s aircraft was insured by Reliance Insurance, which in turn reinsured the risk with a Russian company.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2012.