Air India Express flight crash: Victims’ families to knock at UAE, US courts

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Dubai - Families of crash victims claim they have only received interim compensations from Air India Express and Kerala state government.

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sun 31 Jan 2021, 9:29 PM

A consortium of families of victims involved in the Air India Express flight 1344 crash — that killed 19 passengers and both pilots during landing at Kozhikode Calicut International Airport — have 
decided to approach courts in the UAE and the US in connection to compensation amounts.

Families of crash victims claim they have only received interim compensations from Air India Express and Kerala state government following the crash and deserve more, given the losses they have suffered.

Thirty-three-year-old Murthasa Fasal, who lost his two-year-old daughter Aysha Dua in the tragedy, said: “My wife Sumayya Thasneem (27) is still undergoing treatment following the accident. She suffered a serious ankle dislocation and was hospitalised for 20 days after the crash. She is still back home in Kerala receiving treatment.”

Jithin KC, a Dubai resident for 12 years, said he lost his father in the accident. “Both my parents were on the flight. My father succumbed to his injuries on August 11. Mom is getting better, however, she is yet to 
recover completely as she has suffered multiple fractures and injuries in the accident.”

The four-cabin crew members and 165 passengers survived, of which over 100 were injured in the incident that took place on August 7. The 19 passengers who died in the tragedy belong to 17 different families. Legal representatives and family members said they have decided to approach Dubai and US courts in the hopes they will receive swift judgment.

Earlier, the family members had to fill out forms as part of the compensation process, yet there was no clarity provided on the final payout amount. “They are not clear on how much they will give us. I think we 
deserve a decent compensation. I 
understand that accidents happen, however, other families should not go through something like this in the future,” said Fasal. “The forms we filled had stated that the interim amount will be deducted from the full and final compensation.”

The families also cited the example of the Air India Express flight 812 crash where 158 passengers were killed, and legal battles were still being pursued in the Supreme Court of India.

A lawyer representing the families told Khaleej Times legal notices were sent to the UAE offices of Air India Express, New India Insurance Company and airline manufacturer Boeing last week demanding a compensation of $7 million for losses incurred during the crash.

“We are looking at Dubai courts as the flight departed from Dubai International Airport,” PV Sheheen, senior advocate and managing partner of Bestwins Law Corporation Associate Office, who is representing 18 families involved in the crash, told Khaleej Times.

“Also, Air India Express, the airline’s insurer New India Insurance Company and Boeing all have offices here in Dubai. We are also considering filing a lawsuit in the US as Boeing’s headquarters are located in Chicago,” he added.

The existence of the UAE-India 
judicial cooperation is another reason for the family to pursue the case in the UAE, said Sheheen. “Since all family members are residents of the UAE, it makes better sense for them to legally pursue the case from here as travelling to India for legal purposes is not always feasible.” As many family members cannot afford the legal fees, the firm is planning arrangements with litigation funders to fund the process.

(With inputs from ANI, Business Today)

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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