German airline Lufthansa, which owns and operates Germanwings, said it would compensate family members of those killed in the Germanwings Flight 9525 disaster up to 50,000 euros (US$54,000), Reuters reported. On Tuesday, 144 people and six crew members were killed in the crash, which investigators said was a deliberate act of a co-pilot who locked the pilot out of the cockpit and slammed the plane into a mountainside in the French Alps.

It is unclear if that immediate compensation package will be supplemented with a larger package in the future. It can take years for lawyers for each party to agree upon a settlement. Lufthansa offered family members of victims flights and other assistance in getting to the crash site in southwestern France earlier this week.

Andreas Lubitz, the 28-year-old co-pilot responsible for the disaster, had a history of mental illness and reportedly hid some of that history from Lufthansa. He had a doctor’s excusal note to miss work on the day of the crash, but decided to fly anyway. He was left alone in the cockpit, which Lufthansa permitted, but which is against the regulations of many other airlines. Lufthansa has since decided to implement the “rule of two,” requiring two crewmembers to be in the cockpit at all times to prevent another disaster.




Compensation for airline disasters varies on the nature of the incident and the status of the families. Boeing was ordered to pay $45 million for each passenger who died in a Silk Air flight from Indonesia to Singapore that crashed in December 1997, Zee News reported. Lawyers for each party look into the backgrounds and financial means of each passenger.

Families of those killed in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash caused by a rocket fired by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine are negotiating compensation from Malaysia Airlines, which was left reeling after the crash and an earlier disappearance of Flight MH370 in the southeast Indian Ocean. A lawyer for the families says they may be eligible for up to $10 million each if the perpetrators of the attack come forward to take responsibility.

The families of the MH17 victims were preliminarily compensated with $50,000 each, but are reportedly entitled to $180,000 from Malaysia Airlines, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.