Flight MH370 records to be released to families suing for compensation

by Mina Martin 04 Nov 2016

Flight MH370 records to be released to families suing for compensation

After more than a year of withholding records, Malaysia Airlines has finally consented to release documents to families of MH370 victims who are suing for compensation, it has been reported.

The unexpected development came during a Federal Court directions hearing in Sydney, Australia, in a case involving the adult children of Mary and Rod Burrows and Cathy and Bob Lawton, four of the 239 people on board Flight MH370 when it presumably plunged into the southern Indian Ocean in March 2014, ABC reported.

The documents would include recent medical certificates of flight crew members, recent pilots licenses, any operational logs or records related to the flight, operations manual for the plane, and flight plan lodged by the pilot with air traffic control. It would also include procedures for carrying dangerous goods and for loss of radio contact, flying over oceans, and what to do in the event of hijacking, the report listed.  

This ‘mundane’ list of documents was expected to assist families in speeding up claims and significantly increase current offers, which the airline’s lead reinsurer Allianz had capped at $266,000 (A$250,000) for each Australian victim, ABC reported.

More than a year ago, payments of $53,000 per passenger were issued in conformance with the Montreal Treaty, which provides for the broad obligations of airlines and insurers.

The ABC report said the changed attitude behind the carrier’s decision, which could potentially reveal evidence of incompetency and failures to support the cause of the suing families, was not fully understood.

Anyhow, the compensation case which named the airline for culpability, would actually chase Allianz for the money, said ABC.

Nicholas Schofield, Allianz Australia spokesman, only had this to say regarding the matter: "AGCS (Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty) can confirm its position as lead reinsurer for the aviation hull and liability coverage.”

"The loss of flight MH370 is clearly an exceptional event but, as with all claims, we cannot comment on the details of this case, particularly in relation to matters that are before the courts."

It remained unclear whether the promised documents would be publicly aired, which would occur only if and when the case reached the trial stage, ABC said.  

The next directions hearing was scheduled in March.


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