The memorial to those who died

Tuesday marks the anniversary of the Spanair Flight 5022, a scheduled passenger flight from Madrid-Barajas Airport to Gran Canaria, which crashed just after takeoff from runway 36L of Barajas Airport at 14:24 CEST, on the 20th of August, 2008.

Still, five years after the tragedy that took the lives of 154 people, although 18 miraculously survived, relatives of those involved have still not yet received any financial compensation for their losses.

Now, an association set up to defend the rights of those involved, are preparing civil proceedings against the insurance company, Mapfre, who insured the now none operational airline, in order for the families facing awards lower than had they have been involved in a car accident on the road.

Mapfre has already announced an offer of 12.7 million euro, which works out at an average of 74,000 euro per passenger. Faced with this offer, the victims claim that Mapfre should be held liable for the incident, and be required to pay compensation, rights established in international law, and should be to cover one hundred percent of the damage claims.

Complications in the case have arisen since criminal charges against two mechanics were dropped by the courts in Madrid, transferring the responsibility of liability to the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, the aircraft being a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, registration EC-HFP.

On the 2nd of August, the Government approved a plausible decree regulating the care that victims of air accidents and their families should receive, also announcing a similar provision for the victims of railway accidents. This legislation is not thought to go far enough though, as many believe it may be necessary to legislate also for compensation, since the amount of a financial award should also serve as a deterrent. Making those who may be forced to face the consequences of compensation following an accident invest in safety first, rather than paying out. Otherwise, with no threat of financial deterrent, it could be the theoretical case that airlines earn more money by avoiding such investments, although their inhibition could lead to accidents.

Either way, it is clear that accountability is one thing that must be assigned correctly, but that is little in terms of peace of mind to those having suffered a fight following their tragic loss five years ago, no doubt highlighted by more recent disasters where others now may face a similar wait.

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