KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: The National Insurance Company Limited will pay Rs10 million each to the heir of 97 passengers killed in the May 22 plane crash near Karachi airport.

Being a government company, the NICL has insured every Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger for Rs5m as well as the entire fleet of the national carrier.

However, a PIA spokesman said on Tuesday that the airline “was able to convince the insurance company to pay an amount of Rs10 million per passenger instead of Rs5 million as allowed as the maximum limit in the Carriage by Air Act of 2012”.

Giving credit to PIA chief retired Air Marshal Arshad Malik for the increase in compensation amount, the spokesman said it was the result of his personal efforts that he managed to convince the insurers that Rs5m was too less for the victim families. ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

A PIA official said the legal and insurance teams of the PIA had found out a technicality to double the insurance coverage to the PK8303 crash victims from Rs5m per passenger to Rs10m per passenger.

He said the PIA CEO in a meeting had tasked the teams to convey to the insurance company that it should not follow the carriage laws of Pakistan of 2012 as it had not been specifically mentioned in the agreement between the PIA and NICL. Instead the company should account for inflation of the last eight years, which should double the amount, he added.

The official said the national carrier fully facilitated the victims’ families in getting the compensation amount and would process and submit the claims on behalf of every affected family after completing the required legal formalities.

The spokesman explained letters were being dispatched to all the successors on record. “PIA has completed the spadework and is awaiting certificates of guardianship and / or succession from the legal heirs of the victims for an expeditious process and early payment,” he said.

Ninety-seven passengers and crewmembers of flight PK-8303 from Lahore to Karachi died when the A320 aircraft crashed in Model Colony. Two passengers miraculously survived.

Earlier, the PIA provided Rs1m each to the families of the deceased passengers for their last rites/funeral.

The spokesman clarified that the insurance amount would be in addition to the Rs1m.

Besides the 97 dead, three girls on the ground also suffered burn injuries and one of them died later at a hospital. The PIA said it had paid Rs1m to the family of the deceased girl and Rs500,000 each to the two injured girls.

The ill-fated A320 aircraft was insured for $19.7m. The aircraft was not owned by the PIA as it got it on lease. The Celestial Aviation Trading 34 Limited, Ireland was the owner of the aircraft and it would get the insurance amount.