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Lufthansa offers victims' families initial 50,000 euros

Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, has offered victims' families up to 50,000 euros ($55,000) in aid. The money will be separate from the compensation the airline will have to pay over the disaster.

The money, a Germanwings spokesperson told news agency AFP, would not be required to be paid back and would be over and above the compensation the airline will have to pay the families over Tuesday's disaster.

Berlin daily "Der Tagespiegel" quoted Holger Hopperdietzelm, a specialist in aviation law, as saying that Lufthansa faced a compensation bill ranging from several tens of thousands of euros to several hundreds of thousands of euros per victim.

However, Elmar Giemulla, a professor of aviation law at the Technical University of Berlin, was quoted in the "Rheinische Post" newspaper that he expected the airline would pay between 10 and 30 million euros in compensation.

The Montreal Convention, which came into force in 1999, determines a cap of 143,000 euros per victim in the event an airline is held liable.

The fact that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz allegedly crashed the passenger plane into a mountainside in the French Alps will not affect the issue of compensation, insurance specialists told AFP.

Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality (AGCS), a subsidiary of German giant Allianz, is Germanwings' primary insurer.

German prosecutors revealed Friday that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had hidden a serious illness from his employer. But that "would not bring the exclusion clause in Lufthansa's insurance policy into play," a legal manager said on the condition of anonymity.

jlw/sgb (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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