New Delhi: The government has decided to fast-track the resolution of disputes over compensation to the families of the Mangalore aircrash victims by holding regular hearings on their appeals.

At a meeting chaired by Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi, top officials of the Ministry and Air India decided to hold regular hearings to resolve the appeals for compensation following the August 25 Kerala High Court order that set aside a single judge order directing the airline to pay a minimum compensation of Rs 75 lakh each to the affected families.

158 people onboard Air India Express Flight 812 from Dubai were killed on May 22, 2010, when the Boeing 737–800 overshot the Mangalore runway on landing, fell over a cliff and caught fire, spreading wreckage across the surrounding hillside. Only eight passengers survived with injuries.

Air India and its attorneys would hold regular hearings to expedite the claim cases of 83 affected families, official sources said, adding that these hearings would be held in an expeditious manner.

The claims of 75 victims' next of kin have already been settled, they said.

A division bench of the Kerala High Court had held that Air India was liable to pay only actual damages proved by the claimants in case of death and the victims in case of injury.

Maintaining that unnecessary litigation be avoided, the bench had said the liability can be determined through negotiated settlement or by civil court of competitive jurisdiction, while allowing an appeal filed by Air India.

If no settlement is possible, actual damages can be determined by the civil court, the bench had observed.

(Agencies)