You can compensate anything on the earth, but you cannot compensate life! The black day still resolves in the minds of the families of the victims of the Ethiopian plane that crashed over the last weekend.
Based on the Montreal Convention, each of the families of the Ethiopian Airline crash victims could receive as much as Sh17 million.
The treaty, adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, stipulates that “if an airline is found at fault for an accident, each affected passenger is to get a minimum value equal to 113,100 special drawing rights”.
This type of plane crash compensation currently equals approximately $170,000 per passenger.
In the past, however, there have been limitations placed on victims for what they can recover from an airline under the international treaties and laws. But f it can be proven that an airline did not take all required precautions for a flight, there will be no limit to what a victim can recover.
In the case of the KQ crash in Douala Cameroon in 2007, for which the investigation report was released in 2010, most of the compensations was based on out of court settlements between the families’ advocates and the airline.
In another crash involving a KQ plane in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in 2000 the airline paid out at least $135,000 (Sh9.72 million) in compensation to each family that lost a relative.
For the 169 fatalities, the airline’s minimum liability totalled to nearly $23 million (Sh1.65 billion) or more.
Noella Mutanda, the head of corporate communications at Insurance Regulatory Authority, yesterday told a local daily that a cover for the plane and the passengers is standard practice required by law.
“Airlines procure insurance and, therefore, compensation should follow,” Mutanda said.
Airlines are required to have comprehensive insurance policies to protect the plane and passengers. “It is like having an air-bound matatu,” Mutanda said.
This consequently means the families of those who perished will be required to start pursuing their compensation.
“The victims will definitely receive compensation from the Ethiopian Airlines,” Mutanda said.
In case a member of the families, including the 32 Kenyans, wonders how to pursue this, Mutanda says the process is “fairly straightforward as the accident is widely publicised and the airline is well-known.”