Air Canada sends $5,000 checks to passengers on plane that crash-landed
Passengers on the Air Canada flight that crash-landed last week say they have received checks from the airline for CAD$5,000 ($4,015).
Flight 624, an Airbus A320, landed short of the runway in Halifax, Nova Scotia; it then hit a power line, and knocked out power at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Twenty-three passengers and crew were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
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“We are reaching out to you further to your unfortunate experience on board Air Canada flight AC624 on March 28, 2015, which had to do an emergency evacuation after an accident upon landing in Halifax,” reads one letter sent to a customer that was obtained by CBC News.
It adds that safety is a top priority for the airline, that the crash-landing was “not in line with the Air Canada service experience you should have been entitled to,” and that passengers should have already been or will be contacted by an Air Canada representative.
The letter continues:
“In the interim, we are pleased to provide you with the attached payment of FIVE THOUSAND CANADIAN DOLLARS which we hope will alleviate the consequences of this flight and restore your confidence in our commitment to the care and well-being of our customers.
This payment is on account of such losses, damages or expenses you have incurred as a result of this incident. However, please be aware that this advance payment does not constitute admission of liability, and would be set off against any liability that Air Canada may have to you for damages arising out of the events of Flight 624. However, should the investigation demonstrate no liability, this amount remains unconditionally yours.
We deeply regret your experience encountered onboard AC624 of March 28, 2015″.
“The $5,000 is not an admission of liability; it is a payment for their expenses and inconvenience,” a personal injury lawyer, who read at least five of the letters, told CBC News. “If there is a settlement, at the end of the day, for that individual, then that $5,000 will be deducted from it.”
However, the lawyer cautioned that each recipient of a check should consult their own lawyer, just in case the text in their letters is different from the ones he had seen.
Passengers involved in the accident could bring lawsuits against several different parties, including the pilots, the airline, the manufacturer of both the craft and its parts, maintenance providers, airport operators and the government.
In comparison, after the Asiana crash in 2013 in San Francisco, the airline initially offered $10,000 as compensation to passengers.
The Montreal Convention reportedly requires airlines in member states (which include Canada and the U.S.) to provide compensation after an aviation accident. However, there are limits to what passengers can be compensated for; emotional or psychological injuries, for example, are only covered if they result from physical injury.
At least one law firm in Nova Scotia is reportedly planning to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of the passengers.
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