Lawsuit filed against Airbus and AirAsia over Flight QZ8501 crash

Lawsuit filed against Airbus and AirAsia over Flight QZ8501 crash
Images of the fuselage of AirAsia QZ8501 plane found in the Java Sea.
PHOTO: Oka Sudiatmika

Chicago-based aviation lawyer is filing a lawsuit against plane manufacturer Airbus and Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia.

Mr Floyd Wisner from Wisner Law Firm said in a statement on Tuesday that he will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of families of passengers onboard AirAsia Flight QZ8501 that crashed into the Java Sea on Dec 28, 2014.

The Airbus A320 was travelling from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore when it crashed in bad weather, killing all 155 passengers and seven crew on board.

According to the statement, while the weather was a factor that contributed to the crash, the aircraft had also suffered a malfuction of the fly-by-wire system.

Mr Wisner, who has been involved in major air disaster cases for the past two decades including many Airbus incidents, said problems with Airbus have spanned many years.

"Airbus and its supplier manufacturers are aware of problems that cause the fly-by-wire protection to malfunction, yet they apepar to have done nothing about it, despite many incidents," he said.

Mr Wisner also slammed AirAsia for offering families only half the amount of compensation being paid to families of other recent air disasters and said the airline will be made a party to the US litigation.

"AirAsia is not handling the claims of its passengers pursuant to international standards, but is treating its passengers differently to those on MH370, MH17 and Germanwings

"Despite the promises of AirAsia's owner, Tony Fernandes, that the victims' families would be treated fairly, AirAsia is proving that it is a low fare, low compensation airline," he added.

Mr Wisner said the lawsuit represents 10 families so far but he expects many others to join the case.

"There are still many families in Indonesia and a few other countries that have spoken to us, and we are willing to talk to any other families that want to join the legal case," he said.

The lawsuit, filed in the US state of Illinois, states that "at the time the accident aircraft left the control of defendant Airbus, it was defectively and unreasonably dangerous," and names Honeywell International, Motorola Inc and other suppliers along with Airbus as defendants.

klim@sph.com.sg

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