Aviation lawyers and insurance experts predict that Lufthansa is likely to accept claims without much resistance when they are put in by the families who were bereaved in last week’s apparent suicide and homicide by the pilot of a passenger plane.
James Healy-Pratt, head of aviation at Stewarts Legal, thinks that the payout could amount to as much as €300m for the Germany airline, its Germanwings subsidiary and their insurers. He said: ‘Under international aviation law, Germanwings will be liable to the families of the passengers to pay full compensatory civil compensation. Under those laws, there is a presumption of fault on behalf of Germanwings.’
The family of each victim is entitled to €139,000 in compensation – but this is a minimum, under international law. Likely effects on the reputation of Lufthansa might put the airline off arguing that it was not negligent in allowing just one pilot to be in the cockpit alone. Mr Healy-Pratt added: ‘No low-cost carrier wishes to have a low-safety and low-compensation tag.’ Allianz is the main insurer to Lufthansa. The crash occurred when the 27-year old co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, was alone in the cockpit. It appears that he refused to let the other pilot back in and then crashed the plane, carrying 150 people in all, into the foothill of a a mountain.