Singapore Airlines offers compensation to turbulence victims on London flight

Singapore Airlines has sent compensation offers to passengers injured when severe turbulence hit flight SQ321 last month, killing a 73-year-old man and injuring 80 people, including with life-changing injuries.

The May 20 flight from London to Singapore was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after encountering sudden extreme turbulence while flying over Myanmar.

On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines confirmed it had sent offers of US$10,000 (S$15,000) in compensation to passengers who suffered minor injuries in the horror crash, while those with more serious injuries were invited to discuss offers to satisfy ” their specific circumstances when they feel good and ready to do so.”

An advance payment of $25,000 was offered to address the “immediate needs” of passengers who, according to a medical assessment, have suffered serious injuries, require long-term medical care and require financial assistance.

“This will be part of the final compensation that these passengers will receive,” the airline confirmed in a statement on its Facebook page.

The airline said it will provide a full refund of airfare to all passengers and confirmed they will also receive “delay compensation” in accordance with EU or UK regulations.

“We have provided all passengers with S$1,000 each to meet immediate expenses upon departure from Bangkok,” the airline’s statement read.

“[Singapore Airlines] it also covered the medical expenses of injured passengers and ensured that their families and loved ones flew to Bangkok where required.

“Singapore Airlines deeply apologizes to all passengers for the traumatic experience on board flight SQ321 on 20 May 2024.

“We are committed to providing our full support and assistance during this period.”

While the monetary offers may be welcome news to some, a travel and aviation compensation lawyer has recommended that passengers seek legal advice before signing anything with the airline.

Peter Carter, whose firm Carter Capner Law represents some passengers who were aboard the flight, said he doubted there was anyone on the plane who had not suffered injuries.

“The insurer should make clear that the $10,000 offer covers all passengers, including those who endured the terror of the moment but were lucky to escape physical injury,” he said.

Mr Carter recommended that those who suffered injuries be assessed by their medical specialists to determine how the accident could still affect them.

“Our working theory remains that this crash could have been avoided and therefore some blame lies with Singapore Airlines,” he said.

“Our team, which includes very experienced airline captains, believes there is evidence to suggest that the aircraft flew into or near a thunderstorm as it passed over an area known for thunderstorm activity in the intertropical convergence zone.

“I suspect that Singapore Airlines knows that the investigation will very soon publicly reveal exactly that, and this announcement is timed to counteract some of the negative effects of that very embarrassing revelation.”

When contacted about the allegations, a spokesperson for Singapore Airlines said he was unable to comment on the opinions of other lawyers.

“SIA is cooperating fully with the relevant authorities in the investigation of this incident,” the spokesperson said.

He referred NewsWire to the findings of Singapore’s Transportation Safety Investigation Bureau’s preliminary investigation, which found that rapid changes in gravitational pull and a 178-foot drop in altitude likely caused the injuries to passengers and crew members.

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