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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Court refers Dh73.5m compensation case against flydubai to aviation expert

A representative from the General Civil Aviation Authority will be assigned to investigate the case

Crash site of FlyDubai’s Flight FZ981 at Rostov-on-Don in Russia in March 2016. Reuters
Crash site of FlyDubai’s Flight FZ981 at Rostov-on-Don in Russia in March 2016. Reuters

A $20 million (Dh73.5m) compensation case filed against flydubai following the crash of its passenger jet in Russia last year was referred to the General Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday.

The case was filed by a Russian brother and sister whose parents were among the 62 passengers and crew members killed in the plane crash on March 19 last year.

In September this year, the siblings filed the case – which is the first of its kind in the UAE - against the airline seeking $20 million in compensation for the loss of their parents on flight FZ981.

On Wednesday, Dubai Civil Court ordered the case be referred to a civil aviation expert to review documents presented by both parties and investigate whether or not the siblings are entitled to compensation.

The court ordered the GCAA expert to review flight data to ensure the identities of the two passengers the plaintiffs’ claim were their parents.

Similarly, the expert is tasked with investigating if flydubai had an insurance policy in place for the flight and if so, to check the amount of money insured to each passenger. The expert will also check if the plaintiffs are eligible for compensation according to this policy.

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The court also ordered the GCAA official to indicate whether the amount claimed by the siblings for material and moral damages exceed those included in the Montreal Convention – a treaty signed by more than 140 countries in 1999 related to compensation for victims of air disasters - and to deduce the party obliged to pay compensation.

The accident’s primary report will also be reviewed to deduce the cause and who was deemed responsible for the crash.

Court records did not disclose when the expert will begin investigations, but the ruling indicated that the expert nominated by the GCAA must attend court to take an oath within one week of nomination.

On March 19, 2016, the Boeing 737-800 passenger jet, travelling from Dubai to the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don was reported circling the Russian airport for up to two hours after an initial landing attempt was aborted due to high winds in the area at the time. In its second landing attempt, the plane plunged to the ground and burst into flames inside the airport’s perimeter, about 250 metres short of the runway. All 62 on board were killed. The investigation into the cause of the crash remains active.

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