German crash victims' kin reject airline's offer

Families of Germans killed in the crash of a Germanwings jet in the French Alps have turned down the airline's compensation offer, demanding a higher amount of at least €100,000 (S$148,000).
Families of Germans killed in the crash of a Germanwings jet in the French Alps have turned down the airline's compensation offer, demanding a higher amount of at least €100,000 (S$148,000).PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN • Families of Germans killed in the crash of a Germanwings jet in the French Alps have turned down the airline's compensation offer, demanding a higher amount of at least €100,000 (S$148,000), their lawyer said.

Lufthansa, the parent company of low-cost carrier Germanwings, announced on June 30 that it would offer compensation of €25,000 to the families of each of the 72 Germans who were killed in the disaster in March.

In addition, each of the victims' immediate surviving kin - parents, children, adopted children, spouses and partners - would receive €10,000.

"You will not be surprised that my clients have told me to refuse this inappropriate offer," wrote Mr Elmar Giemulla, who is advising 35 relatives of the German victims, in a document addressed to German-wings' lawyer and seen by Agence France-Presse.

The lawyer called on Saturday for the compensation for each victim to be "a six-figure sum" - meaning at least €100,000 - and the same amount for the victims' immediate kin.

When asked by German tabloid Bild to provide a specific figure, the lawyer said: "€25,000 per victim and €10,000 for the parents is not an appropriate acknowledgement of the suffering that has been inflicted on them. They are asking for an indemnity of €200,000."

Among the German victims were a group of schoolchildren from the town of Haltern who were returning from a school trip to Barcelona.

Prosecutors believe that the 27-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz of Germanwings Flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf deliberately crashed the Airbus A320 into the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people on board.

After the crash, Lufthansa offered aid of up to €50,000 per passenger to the victims' relatives, a figure independent of any eventual compensation payments.

In addition, children and teenagers who had lost one or both parents would receive support towards their education from a special fund of up to €7.8 million.

In April, Lufthansa said US$300 million (S$410 million) in provisions had been earmarked to cover the damages.

The sum includes financial compensation for the families of the people who died and the cost of the A320 jet itself, which has a current list price of US$93.9 million.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'German crash victims' kin reject airline's offer'. Print Edition | Subscribe