A quarter of plaintiffs settle over jetliner crash

Kyodo

A settlement has been reached by 79 out of 315 plaintiffs in a civil suit with Taiwan carrier China Airlines and European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie over a fatal crash at Nagoya airport in 1994, sources said Thursday.

The settlement comes after the Nagoya District Court ended litigation in the case on June 13. The ruling is scheduled for Dec. 26.

China Airlines Flight 140, en route to Nagoya from Taipei, crashed while preparing to land on April 26, 1994, killing 264 of the 271 passengers and crew members on board the Airbus A300-600R.

The entire group of 315 plaintiffs, which consists of the next of kin of the Japanese and Taiwanese victims, had sought a combined 25 billion yen in compensation. It was the largest group to file a damages suit over the crash.

Many of the 79 plaintiffs who reached the settlement ahead of the ruling are from Taiwan, the sources said, noting it is rare for so many to reach such an early settlement. They had been offered increased compensation if they dropped their case against Airbus, and apparently opted for the settlement over the likelihood of a drawn-out court battle.

A series of damages suits were filed against China Airlines and Airbus between 1995 and 1996 by plaintiffs who were unhappy with the total offer of 16.4 million yen per victim from the carrier.

Settlement negotiations began in 2000, but most plaintiffs rejected them in part because they did not feel the airline had apologized adequately and since the court-mediated settlements fell below their expectations.