Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainudin disclosed on Thursday that the insurer of Malaysian Airlines has started to pay families of the 239 passengers and crew of the ill-fated Flight 370 $50,000 each.
The amount is an initial amount and given three months after the Boeing 777 bound for Beijing disappeared on March 8, which until now remains missing without a trace.
Zainudin said that so far six Malaysian families and one Chinese family have accepted the compensation, while the insurer is holding talks with 40 more Chinese families to ensure they are the rightful claimants.
At $50,000 each passenger and crew, it would cost the insurer an initial $11.95 million, but the families could claim up to $175,000 each, which could be made later since the Malaysian government is not yet fully prepared to declare the aircraft lost.
Under regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the amount of $175,000 would be paid to families of passengers, regardless of the fault, when a jet crashes. That would mean a total compensation of $41.825 million that the insurance consortium led by Germany's Allianz would have to pay.
"When we talk about the full payment, we have to wait until we announce the issue on the tragedy MH370 is over ... whether the plane is found, whether we announce the plane is lost," the official said.