Sunday, November 03, 2013

Air India told to pay Rs 8 cr to Mangalore crash pilot’s family

Captain Zlatko Glusica and grandson

Air India will have to pay around Rs 8 crore to the family of Captain Zlatko Glusica, the pilot of the Air India Express Boeing 737 that crashed in Mangalore on May 22, 2010, killing 158 people. The Labor Court in Mumbai, while rejecting the national carrier's claims that Glusica's case couldn't be considered for compensation as he wasn't an Indian national, ordered Air India to deposit $7.45 lakh (Rs 4.63 crore) as per the workmen compensation package, besides 50 per cent of the compensation amount as penalty for delaying the payment, and 12 per cent interest per annum on the compensation amount from the date of accident till the date of depositing the amount.

AI ignored family's requests Glusica's family, based in Belgrade, wrote to the Air India officials on many occasions, following which they moved the Labour Court, saying they got nothing while families of the first officer and crew members of the ill-fated flight were paid the workmen compensation — which has to be paid to officials who die on duty (Relatives of Mangalore crash pilot seek Rs 5-cr, MM, March 8).

The workmen compensation is based on the pilot's age and salary. Capt Glusica was 55 years old, and his salary was $11,000 a month. Hence $5,500 (half of his salary drawn) has to be multiplied by 135.56 (a figure specified by the Workmen Compensation Act as per his age), to arrive at the compensation amount.

In one of India's worst aviation tragedies, flight IX 814 commanded by Glusica took off from Dubai with 160 passengers and a six-member crew on board. It over-shot the runway at the Mangalore airport while landing, fell over a cliff, and caught fire, leaving only eight survivors.

The government announced interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the deceased's families, and Rs 2 lakh to the injured, but no compensation was paid to Glusica's family.
An inquiry committee report, which was made public two years after the crash, blamed Glusica — a British national of Serbian origin — saying the accident was caused by the pilot's failure to "discontinue an un-stabilised approach and persisting with the landing".

The Labour Court, however, pulled up the airline for not compensating Glusica's family. "The legal heirs of the deceased had contacted the opponent (Air India) through email and the opponent has not brought the issue to any fruitful result. The opponent has advanced interim compensation amount to the extent of Rs 10 lakh in other cases, but has not done so in this case for the reasons best known to them," the court said.

'Our family was disrespected' While Air India officials were not available for comment, Glusica's son Alexander said the court had "honoured the family's dignity". He said, "Money can't bring back our father, at least his soul will now rest in peace now. Air India has been disrespectful to his family. We have been informed about the time that may be taken in appeals, but at least the Indian court has honoured the dignity of our lives."

Advocate Yashwant Shenoy, constituted attorney of the Glusica family, said the debt-ridden Air India did itself no favours by ignoring the family's communication. "The family approached Air India on several occasions regarding compensation, but the Air India officials never had the time to look into the rightful claims," he said.


NTSB Identification: DCA10RA063
Accident occurred Saturday, May 22, 2010 in Manglaore, India
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
Injuries: 158 Fatal,7 Serious,1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On May 22, 2010 at about 6:10 am local time (0040 UTC), Air India Express flight 812 (VT-AXV), a Boeing 737-800 equipped with CFM56 engines, overran the runway into a valley during landing at the Mangalore International Airport, Mangalore, India. Of the 166 passengers and crew on board, there were 158 fatalities and 8 survivors. The airplane was substantially consumed by post-crash fire. The flight originated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The investigation will be conducted by the Indian Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and the NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the DGCA as the State of design and manufacture.

All inquiries should be directed to:

Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation
DGCA Complex
Opposite Safdarjung Airport
New Delhi 110003

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