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Passengers have right to claim compensation

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-23 07:51

Passengers have right to claim compensation

Flight officer Rayan Gharazeddine looks out of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 March 22, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

A PRETRIAL MEETING in the litigation related to the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur three years ago, concluded in Beijing on Tuesday, with a focus on exchanges of evidence and clarifying the appeals of relevant parties. Beijing News commented on Wednesday:

The families of the passengers made their requests for compensation during the two-day hearing at the Beijing Railway Transport Court. The amounts ranged from 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) to 74.9 million yuan.

In January 2015, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation declared Flight MH370's disappearance an accident, with all 239 passengers and crew members on board presumed dead. The change in ownership-Malaysia Airlines Systems operated the flight and was subsequently renamed Malaysia Airlines Berhad-does not mean the operator can muddle through without compensating the relatives of victims.

Under the Montreal Convention, which governs liabilities resulting from airline accidents, flight operators are exempt from responsibility only when there is solid evidence they are not at fault. Both Malaysia and China are signatories to the international aviation agreement.

When it comes to liability, the Montreal Convention caps initial payouts at around $165,000 per passenger at current exchange rates. The claims could be much higher if there is deemed to have been any pilot error, or negligence and breach of duty on the part of the airline in which case the sky is the limit.

Families of the missing Chinese passengers are right to seek a trial at home, which allows them to resort to both international and domestic laws.

Only time and proof will tell what happened and if anyone bears any responsibility, but the relatives of all victims are right to seek compensation in the meantime.

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