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Australian former senator criticized Singapore Airlines’ compensation as “mean and miserable”

Despite compensation offers from Singapore Airlines to passengers of flight SQ321, including an advance payment of US$25,000 for serious injuries, Australian former senator Nick Xenophon criticized the package as “mean and miserable.” He argues it fails to meet international obligations under the Montreal Convention, advocating for upfront compensation of at least US$175,000 for serious injuries.



AUSTRALIA: Singapore Airlines finds itself embroiled in controversy following its compensation offers to passengers injured during a turbulent flight from London to Singapore.

Flight SQ321, carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew, encountered severe turbulence over Myanmar on 21 May, resulting in one fatality and numerous injuries ranging from the spinal cord to brain injuries.

On  Tuesday (11 June), Singapore Airlines sent compensation offers to passengers of flight SQ321.

Passengers who suffered minor injuries were offered US$10,000 (S$13,534), the national carrier stated in a Facebook post.

The airline has also offered an advance payment of US$25,000 for passengers with serious injuries requiring long-term medical care who need financial assistance. This payment addresses their immediate needs and will be part of the final compensation.

However, former South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has condemned the airline’s compensation package as “mean and miserable,” arguing that it falls short of international obligations set by the Montreal Convention, which mandates compensation for air travel incidents.

As reported by Australia media Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Xenophon, also a lawyer, insists that passengers with serious injuries deserve at least US$175,000 upfront, without deductions for liabilities.

The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) is an international treaty governing airlines’ liability in cases of injury, death, or delays during international air travel.

Under the Convention, airlines are held “strictly liable” for up to 128,821 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs, an international reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund) in the event of accidents resulting in injury or death.

As of current exchange rates, 128,821 SDRs equate to approximately US$170,000.

Keith Davis, whose wife suffered a spinal injury on flight SQ321 during the incident, described the offers as “insulting” and “beyond belief,” exacerbating the distress caused by the incident.

“I don’t know what [the offer] would cover – it doesn’t cover anything,” Davis told ABC.

Notably, an aviation lawyer Peter Carter has cautioned Australian passengers against hastily accepting the airline’s compensation offers.

He advises affected passengers to seek expert legal counsel to fully understand their rights and the potential long-term implications of their injuries.

Carter highlighted that accepting the lower compensation amount might preclude passengers from claiming higher damages later, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive medical evaluation to assess future medical needs.

“The people who sign up for the US$10,000 offer are locked out, that’s the intention of it,” the lawyer said.

‘Rapid’ G-force changes and altitude drop in preliminary report linked to injuries on Flight SQ321

SQ321  experienced “sudden extreme turbulence” over the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar on 21 May, while the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft was en route to Singapore from London.

The pilot declared a medical emergency and landed the plane at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

A British passenger, 73-year-old Geoffrey Kitchen, died of a suspected heart attack, and dozens were injured.

On 29 May, The Ministry of Transport (MOT) of Singapore released preliminary findings from the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB), revealing startling details about the event.

The TSIB’s investigation has been comprehensive, involving not only local investigators but also international representatives from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Boeing.

The investigation team has “compiled a chronology of events based on preliminary analysis of the data from FDR and CVR,” highlighting several critical moments during the flight.

According to the MOT’s statement, SQ321 departed London on 20 May and was flying normally prior to the turbulence event.

At 07:49:21 hr (UTC) on 21 May 24, the aircraft was passing over the south of Myanmar at 37,000 ft and likely flying over an area of developing convective activity.

It was then noted that the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from SQ321 indicated that the aircraft experienced rapid changes in gravitational force. The gravitational force (G) recorded as vertical accelerations, fluctuated between +0.44G and +1.57G for a period of about 19 seconds.

“The rapid changes in G over the 4.6 sec duration resulted in an altitude drop of 178 ft [54 metres], from 37,362 ft to 37,184 ft. This sequence of events likely caused the injuries to the crew and passengers,” said MOT.

An uncommanded altitude increase was observed shortly afterward, prompting the autopilot to pitch the aircraft downwards. This was complicated by an increase in airspeed, which the pilots managed by extending the speed brakes.

The most severe moment occurred at 07:49:40 UTC, when vertical acceleration shifted from a positive 1.35G to a negative 1.5G in less than a second, causing unbelted occupants to become airborne.

Seconds later, the force shifted back to positive, leading to their forceful return to their seats or the floor.

The MOT report detailed, “This likely resulted in the occupants who were airborne to fall back down.”

Amid these rapid changes, the pilots manually controlled the aircraft for 21 seconds before reengaging the autopilot.

The aircraft subsequently stabilized and returned to its original altitude of 37,000 feet.

Following the incident, the injured passengers were assessed by the cabin crew, leading to the decision to divert the plane to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, where medical services were requested upon arrival.

The investigation is ongoing, with contributions from the TSIB, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Boeing.

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If it is the Media or Loong Empire committing a crime. You wouldn’t even have an apology or compensation cos they just pretend and put you as an entity then spin the story away. No?!?

Overlords you and speak for you. No?!?

Helloooo … Nick! You know and understand what is ADVANCE payment or not? SIA should be praised for paying at least PART of the compensation AHEAD of time when it is likely needed most urgently. To earn kudos though, SIA should consider paying for ALL initial medical expenses.

Given the varying nationalities of the passengers involved, it’s a bloody good job that such an individual as in Nick Xenophon exists, … with his background, knowledge and a great pair of cojones !!!

SIA, … thought that they were dealing and addressing a load of meek, gullible and naive SillyPoreans !!!

Nevertheless, … it’s shocking and entirely deplorable, given what the passengers underwent, never mind those with serious injuries !!!

As can be observed, despite all of the accolades and achievements, … it don’t take a lot to ruin and tarnish one’s brand and following !!!

Uh Oh…wats next?
SIA hardworking staff still hoping for that promised 8months bonus…

Too late!
Their hefty profits have been distributed as bonuses.
Time to ask G for aid again?

What more can you expect from a money-grubbing company? Compensation is reserved only for SIA’s executives.

Lesson learnt, don’t fly with SIA. I do hope they remember.

Must Tell The SIA CEO this & also Sinkies that JY is not running the show anymore.

SIA is handling this wrongly. Pay the maximum the insurance allows and shut it down or face Court action which will be added costs. It is also bad publicity for the service industry.