Malaysia Airlines: $57,000 is not the final amount
MALAYSIA Airlines says a compensation offer of US$50,000 (AUD$57,000) to the families of MH370 victims is only "part of" the final payment it intends to make.
The Herald reported yesterday that the widow of Kiwi victim Paul Weeks had rejected the offer, concerned about the conditions that came with it.
She said she was asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire, but after seeking legal advice, was reluctant to do so.
A Malaysia Airlines spokesperson told the Herald that the offer was made in good faith - and there were no hidden strings attached.
Some victims had accepted the offer, however the airline understood why others were hesitant.
"An Advance Compensation Payment of US$50,000 has been offered to the families of each passengers on board MH370 to alleviate any immediate financial hardship they may be facing," the spokesperson said via email.
"The payment and amount is being made in recognition of a non-binding, though widely followed and wholly appropriate international practice, with the payment being part of and to be offset against the final damages payable.
"The payment being offered is not conditional on the families waiving any rights to claim further compensation from the airline and the families remain free to take whatever further legal action they deem appropriate.
"However in order to receive the payment full personal details have been requested to ensure that the payment is made to the correct legally entitled beneficiary or next of kin."
The spokesperson wanted to assure victims that full compensation would be offered regardless of whether they accepted the initial advance payment.
"The families are at liberty to either accept or reject the offer and the families were fully advised of this when the offer was made. The families were also advised that can accept the payment later if they so wish."
The spokesperson could not comment further on when final compensation would be offered.
Voice370, the group Mrs Weeks helped set up for the families of the missing, criticised the offer at the weekend.
"We are left asking 'is any life worth so little?'" the group said.
"No sum of money, no matter how great, can compensate the families for our losses. No amount of money can ever take the pain away. True justice cannot be measured by money."
The group said finding out what happened to MH370 and why was more important than compensation.