Airlines settle Twin Towers claim over 9/11 attacks

An American Airlines plane at the gate at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
An American Airlines plane at the gate at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - American Airlines and United Airlines have agreed to a US$95.1 million (S$128.8 million) settlement with the developer of the World Trade Centre over the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, ending 13 years of litigation.

Insurers will cover the payout to World Trade Centre Properties, owned by developer Larry Silverstein, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Six weeks before the attacks, Mr Silverstein signed a 99-year-lease for the site, which is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

After the suicide airliner attacks that felled the Twin Towers, Mr Silverstein received from his own insurers US$4.55 billion in settlements after years of negotiations.

But he also fought to receive damages from American and United, whose hijacked planes were used in the attacks.

He initially sought US$12.3 billion from the airlines and airport security companies.

Now the two sides have reached a settlement that must still be approved by US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

The Sept 11 attacks on the Twin Towers by hijackers loyal to Al-Qaeda killed more than 2,750 people.

Another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, while a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Altogether around 3,000 people died in the attacks.