Monday, March 05, 2012

Air KBZ [Air Kanbawza] Avion de Transport Regional ATR-72-500, XY-AIT, Flight K7-243: Payout likely after Thandwe, Myanmar, crash

State-run Myanma Insurance is planning to pay compensation to Air KBZ for damage to an aircraft that skidded off the runway at Thandwe Airport recently, a senior official said last week.

Dr Mg Maung Thein, general manager of Myanma Insurance, said the compensation payout to Air KBZ was subject to approval by the underwriter, an unidentified foreign insurance company.

The plane was carrying 51 passengers when it crashed on landing at Thandwe on February 17 at 10:30am. Nobody was injured in the incident, but photos of the accident provided to The Myanmar Times showed damage to the undercarriage of the aircraft and a propeller.

“We are planning to pay compensation for the accident because the aircraft carried AirClaims Insurance with Myanma Insurance and was backed by a foreign insurance company. The compensation payout for the aircraft accident is still being preceded,” he said last week.

He said an expert from Singapore was conducting a survey of the incident and would submit a report for the compensation payout.

“According to the survey, the aircraft can be repaired and after reviewing the final report, we will be working for the compensation payout based on the repair cost.”

A spokesperson for Air KBZ confirmed nobody was injured in the incident, which saw the aircraft come to a stop on a pile of gravel beside the runway.

“Among the 51 passengers, 32 were foreigners and the other 19 were local passengers. The front wheel of the aircraft was broken due to the accident but luckily none of the passengers or Air KBZ staff were injured,” said the spokesperson.

He confirmed the company was in discussions with Myanma Insurance about a payout.

The spokesperson said the accident was caused by a hydraulic system failure that prevented the front landing gear from deploying before landing.

One of the foreign passengers who was on the flight said that “no care at all” was provided by Air KBZ after the accident.

“Now we know what they mean by their slogan, ‘Air KBZ – Flying Beyond Expectation’,” he said.

One industry insider familiar with the incident said that after the accident, the pilots and crew members were spirited away to “the best four-star beach resort to enjoy the rest of the day” while the passengers were “left alone” to make it to their hotels with no more contact or service from the airline.

He said some passengers did not want to make the return trip to Yangon with Air KBZ, but received no help from the airline in booking tickets with other airlines.

“One passenger wanted to get back to Yangon only by car,” he said.

Air KBZ, which is owned by Kanbawza Bank, was launched on April 2, 2011 and operates schedule flights from Yangon to Nyaung Oo, Mandalay, Heho, Tachileik, Dawei, Myeik, Myitkyina, Kalay, Kawthoung, Thandwe and Sittwe. 

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