Over seven months after one of its aircrafts crashed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos, the management of Associated Airlines yesterday commenced the payment of $30,000, which represents 30 per cent of total compensation to the families of the victims of the illfated crash.
So far, the airline had paid nine families of the 16 victims that died in the flight while others were yet to be paid for various reasons.
Sources close to the airline told our correspondent that the payment process started in the morning while the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, was present at the venue as observers.
The source confided in our correspondent that the airline’s management had wanted to keep the payment process away from the media for reasons best known to it.
The payment took place at the airline’s office at Adeniji Jones.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, recommendations and standard practices, victims’ families were supposed to be paid their compensations within 30 days of any accident, but Associated’s 30 per cent was coming over seven months after the crash.
The delay for the payment industry sources claimed may have to do with some irregularities observed by the insurance companies immediately after the crash.
It was not clear if the insurance company was responsible for the payment of yesterday’s compensation or the airline itself, but the operations of the airline had remained grounded since the crash occurred.
It would be recalled that the plane Embraer 120 carrying about 20 passengers with the corpse of the former Ondo State Governor, Chief Segun Agagu had crashed at the airport, barely 31 seconds after takeoff.
The Associated Airlines plane was bound for Akure, which lies about 140 miles (225km) North-East of Lagos. The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, in its report said the aircraft’s engines were faulty before the crash.
It was not clear when the remaining $70,000 compensation would be paid the victims’ families.
Confirming the development, the Deputy General Manager, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye said that the airline had commenced the payment of the 30 per cent to the families of the victims.
He added that 13 of the victims’ families had their claims prepared while nine of them appeared yesterday and were paid.
Adurogboye added that three of the families did not apply for settlement of claims while four families still had some documentation problems