The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo was concerned with the slow compensation payments to next of kin of passengers on board the AirAsia flight QZ8501, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan says.
Jonan issued the statement after a closed-door meeting with Jokowi on Thursday at the Presidential Office.
'The President said that insurance should be paid. I told [him] that there is indeed a regulation covering the issue; Transportation Ministry Regulation No. 77/2011 stipulates that the amount is Rp 1.25 billion [US$98,386] per passenger,' Jonan said.
Jonan said that AirAsia must pay the victims' next of kin regardless of the legal status of the fight. 'It has nothing to do with whether the airline is covered by insurance; Rp 1.25 billion per passenger should be paid by the airline.'
Local media had earlier reported that AirAsia had only distributed forms to be filled in by QZ8501 passengers' next of kin for the initial compensation of Rp 300 million per victim.
The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has urged insurance companies covering AirAsia to complete claim payments for the 155 passengers on board the flight.
AirAsia Indonesia president director Sunu Widyatmoko, however, has said the airline had ensured each victim would receive Rp 1.25 billion in compensation, which would be disbursed when the recovery and identification process had been completed.
Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini has said her administration was ready to file a lawsuit against AirAsia if it failed to adequately compensate families of passengers on flight QZ8501, following the suspension of the airline's flight permit from the East Java city to Singapore.
The Surabaya municipal administration is now collecting data on the victims, including their valuables, which will later be used for insurance purposes and matters related to the beneficiary rights of the affected families.
Jonan also said the inspectorate general would publish its findings from an inquiry on whether other airlines had flown outside their designated schedules.
Days after the crash, it was revealed that AirAsia flight QZ8501 might not have had a permit to ply the route on that day.
Jonan said that the announcement would also shed light on whether ministry officials were involved in the mess.
The ministry had earlier suspended Juanda International Airport's head of safety and airworthiness, who was also in charge of the airport's slot coordination.
Meanwhile, as of late Thursday, a multinational search and rescue team had not been able to locate the aircraft's black boxes, despite the plane's tail section having been found at the bottom of the Java Sea on Wednesday.
Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Moeldoko said that the Navy's team of divers had attempted to recover the black boxes by lifting the tail section to the surface using flotation devices. The effort failed due to strong sea currents.
'Hopefully, tomorrow will mark the end of the search for the black boxes,' he said, while on board KRI Banda Aceh in the Karimata Strait on Thursday.
The team did recover four more bodies on Thursday, bringing the total retrieved from the sea to 44.
As the number of bodies being recovered has started to dwindle, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) is planning to withdraw foreign ships working in the search area, according to the agency's chief, Air Chief Marshal FH Bambang Soelistyo.
'On Jan. 9, two Japanese ships, which are part of our additional force, will leave the mission area. We will reduce the number of ships in stages. Of course, [this decision was made] based on our analysis that we will still operate effectively,' he said.
The two vessels from the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), JS Takanami and Onami, were scheduled to help the search mission until Friday, after which they would go to the Philippines, said Soelistyo.
'They [Japan] offered to replace them with other ships, but I had to reject [the offer for the moment] because our analysis showed that we do not need them yet,' he said.
Also on Thursday, the East Java Police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team identified one more body recovered from the crash site, bringing the total number of identified bodies to 25.
The latest identified body, numbered B025, is 43-year-old Djoko Suseno from Sidoarjo, East Java.
'Our hard work, all night long, has only resulted in the identification of one body,' the head of the East Java Police medical and health department, Brig. Gen. Budiyono, said.
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