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Monday, January 30, 2023

Nepal plane crash victims’ families may lose millions in compensation: Report

World NewsNepal plane crash victims' families may lose millions in compensation: Report

The bereaved families of the Yeti Airlines plane crash victims are likely to lose millions in compensation as the Nepalese government has not ratified a draft bill on critical aircraft liability and insurance, according to a media report on Friday. .

On January 15, a Yeti Airlines plane crashed into a gorge near the newly constructed airport in Pokhara, killing all 72 passengers on board, including five Indians, in the country’s worst air disaster in 30 years. went

In 2020, Nepal finalized a draft bill on the liability regime for domestic travelers, two years after adopting the Montreal Convention 1999, the Kathmandu Post reported.

The Aircraft Liability and Insurance Draft Bill proposes a five-fold increase in compensation in case of death or injury, the report said.

It said that under the planned law, domestic airlines would have to pay at least USD 100,000 in compensation for the injury or death of a passenger.

Also read: No survivors expected in Nepal’s deadliest disaster in 30 years: officials

Currently, the minimum compensation for the death of an airline passenger on a domestic flight in Nepal is USD 20,000, the report said.

The draft bill states that the carrier must make advance payments where it determines it is necessary to meet the immediate economic needs and hardships of the passengers or victims’ families, the report said.

According to the proposed law, a claim for compensation must be filed against the airline or its agents within 60 days of the incident.

Officials at Nepal’s tourism ministry say the proposed legislation is a modified version of the 1999 Montreal Convention because it contains several clauses that domestic airlines will not be able to comply with.

The draft bill for airlines’ liability and insurance does not take into account liability for flight delays, including unlimited claims, the report said.

“The draft of the bill is ready and we plan to table it in the cabinet,” said Budhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary, civil aviation ministry.

He said that after the approval of the cabinet, the bill will be presented in the parliament.

Ministry officials attributed the slow progress of the bill to frequent changes in government and political instability in Nepal.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal appointed Sudan Kranti as the new tourism minister.

The Yeti Airlines plane was insured by Himalayan Everest Insurance Company, which said the victims’ families would not have to wait long to receive compensation.

Neeraj Pradhan, senior manager of the underwriting department of Himalayan Everest Insurance Company, said that independent surveyors sent by the reinsurance company abroad have already started work to assess the damage.

Also read: Nepal plane crash: Relatives fail to identify four UP victims from charred bodies

“It doesn’t take much time for family members to get their money, but aircraft claims take a long time to settle,” Pradhan said.

“We settled the claims arising from the Tara Air crash last May within three months,” Pradhan added.

Sudarsan Bartaula, spokesman for Yeti Airlines, said they hoped payments would start within a month after the post-mortem reports.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, 914 people have died in air accidents in the country since the first disaster was reported in August 1955.

It added that Nepalese domestic carriers fly more than 4 million passengers annually.

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