KARACHI: The ill-fated A320 aircraft that crashed into a thickly-populated neighbourhood near Karachi airport on May 22 was insured for $19.7 million and every passenger was insured for Rs5m each.
“The hull insurance of [the aircraft] AP-BLD 2274 is US$19.7 million and the amount will go to the owner [of the plane] from whom the PIA acquired it on lease,” spokesperson for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Abdullah H. Khan told Dawn.
In aviation, the ‘hull insurance’ provides coverage for the physical damage of an airplane, whether the damage occurs on the ground or during flying.
Mr Khan said that being a government company the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) was the insurer and Marsh was the reinsurance broker.
A Reuters report said that AIG was the lead reinsurer.
The NICL had insured the entire fleet of aircraft “owned or operated” by the PIA for the period between Dec 30, 2019 and Dec 29, 2020, according to the certificate of insurance posted on the PIA website.
The aircraft in question was owned by the Celestial Aviation Trading 34 Limited, Ireland, which would get the insurance amount, not the PIA.
The insurance amount for the aircraft would go to its owner, not the airline
Ninety-seven passengers and crewmembers of flight PK-8303 from Lahore to Karachi died in the plane crash. Only two passengers miraculously survived.
About the passengers, the PIA spokesperson said they were also insured by NICL for Rs5m each. “The family of each victim is being provided Rs1m for making arrangements for burial. In addition, the legal heirs of those who died in the crash would get Rs5m each.”
He said PIA would process and submit the claims on behalf of every affected family after completing the required legal formalities. “Last time, it took five-six months [to get insurance amount],” he said referring to the 2016 ATR crash near Havelian in which all the 47 aboard died.
Crash probe continues
The work to lift the debris and wreckage of plane continued on Friday while teams of local investigators of the Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board (AAIB) and Airbus inspected the crash site as well as equipment and parts collected so far from different angles.
Officials said the affected street of Jinnah Garden in Model Colony, where the plane crashed, would be cleared in a day or two.
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had on Thursday told reporters that the plane’s wreckage was being shifted to an empty hangar at Karachi airport, where it would be reassembled for investigation purposes.
An 11-member team of experts belonging to Airbus arrived in Pakistan on May 26 to offer Pakistani investigators technical assistance in their ongoing probe. It will take to France the aircraft’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder — the two components of the black box — to decode them.
Also on Friday, Sindh government’s spokesman and the chief minister’s law adviser Murtaza Wahab said in a tweet that four more bodies of the deceased passengers had been identified through DNA testing. He said the DNA matching process was going on at a Karachi University laboratory to identify the remaining bodies.
President wants process expedited
In Islamabad, President Dr Arif Alvi directed PIA chief Air Marshal Arshad Mehmood Malik to expedite the process of paying compensation to families of the victims. He gave him the instructions during a briefing at Aiwan-i-Sadr on Friday.
Air Marshal Malik briefed the president about the investigations into the crash and the relief efforts made by PIA. He said that so far 44 bodies had been handed over to the heirs of the victims.
The president said the air crash was a great tragedy and it had shocked the entire nation.
Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2020