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Jet Airways incident: Fliers stare at poor payout

September 22, 2018 07:27 IST

'Passengers of the Jet Airways flight will be entitled for compensation for discomfort and trauma, but it may not be Rs 2 million in this incident.'
Aneesh Phadnis reports.

The scene on the Mumbai-Jaipur flight after the crew forgot to select the bleed switch due to which cabin pressurisation could not be maintained and oxygen masks were deployed. Photograph: Kind courtesy @DarshakHathi/Twitter

IMAGE: The scene on the Mumbai-Jaipur flight after the crew forgot to select the bleed switch due to which cabin pressurisation could not be maintained and oxygen masks were deployed, September 20, 2018. Photograph: Kind courtesy @DarshakHathi/Twitter

Passengers of Jet Airways' Mumbai-Jaipur flight who suffered injuries on Thursday, September 20, might receive a lower payout as the Centre is yet to revise compensation norms.

In May, the civil aviation ministry released the draft passenger rights charter, proposing higher compensation for deaths and injuries in domestic air travel.

The compensation for deaths and injuries because of accidents in international flights is in accordance with The Carriage by Air Act. These provide for two-tier carrier liabilities.

An airline is liable to pay an amount equivalent to Rs 11 million to affected passengers or their kin. Passengers do not have to prove negligence on part of the carrier for this payout.

However, this does not mean all passengers are entitled to receive the amount. The payout depends on age, income, and occupation of the passenger.

The compensation in the case of domestic flights, however, has been capped at Rs 2 million.

As part of its passenger rights charter, the government proposed to bring parity to compensation for domestic and international flights.

 

Airlines have resisted the move and have asked the government to retain existing regulations. They said the proposed change would increase their costs. An official said the ministry was in the process of finalising the charter.

Over 30 passengers of a Jet Airways Mumbai-Jaipur flight on Thursday complained of nose and ear bleeding after the crew failed to turn on the switch that maintains air pressure inside the aircraft.

In a statement, the airline said: 'Jet Airways, being mindful of the safety and comfort of its guests, always ensures these aspects are never compromised. We are concentrating on extending assistance to the guests so that they receive requisite medical care. We are extending cooperation to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in their investigation.We will be guided by the applicable Act and regulations regarding the compensation.'

"Passengers of the Jet Airways flight will be entitled for compensation for discomfort and trauma, but it may not be Rs 2 million in this incident," said Lalit Bhasin, managing partner at Bhasin and Co.

Passengers can claim damages under The Carriage by Air Act on grounds of negligence.

In the case of such a claim, there is no cap on carrier liabilities, but a payout can happen only if it is proved that there was negligence on part of the carrier.

Passengers can file cases under the Consumer Protection Act, claiming deficiency in service.

Aneesh Phadnis
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