Singapore Air offers US$25,000 for serious turbulence injuries

Singapore Airlines Ltd. has offered payment of $25,000 to passengers who sustained serious injuries during a flight that hit extreme turbulence last month.

The advance payment would be to address their immediate needs, the carrier said in Facebook post Tuesday. Singapore Air is also offering $10,000 in compensation to passengers who sustained more minor injuries.

“For those who sustained more serious injuries from the incident, we have invited them to discuss a compensation offer to meet each of their specific circumstances when they feel well and ready to do so,” the post said. “Passengers medically assessed as having sustained serious injuries, requiring long-term medical care and requesting financial assistance are offered an advance payment of $25,000 to address their immediate needs. This will be part of the final compensation that these passengers will receive.”

The airline also apologized for what it called the “traumatic experience” on board flight SQ321.

A 73-year-old British man died in the event and several dozen of the 229 passengers and crew on board were severely hurt, ranging from spinal to skull injuries. The Boeing 777 jet took off from London Heathrow on May 20 bound for Singapore when it encountered extreme turbulence near Myanmar, forcing it to divert to Bangkok.

As of last week, there were still around 20 passengers receiving medical treatment at hospitals in Bangkok.

All passengers aboard the ill-fated flight will receive a refund for their airfare whether they were hurt or not as well as a payouts of up to to £520 or 600 euros for the delay to their journey in line with European Union or United Kingdom rules. The payments are in addition to the S$1,000 ($739) the airline already paid out to passengers to cover initial expenses after the incident.

All affected passengers should have received their offers of compensation via email, the airline said.

Early investigations found that the aircraft was caught in an updraft before suddenly dropping almost 180 feet, causing most of the injuries during a calamitous 4.6 second period, according to a preliminary report on May 29 from Singaporean investigators.

The report also stated the jet was “likely flying over an area of developing convective activity” when the incident occurred, and that passengers had mere seconds to react to the seatbelt sign being switched on. –BLOOMBERG