The solicitor acting for airline Manx2 following the 10 February fatal crash at Cork airport in Ireland has claimed that the airline has no liability to the passengers involved in the incident.
The liability, says Manx2's Isle of Man-based solicitor Appleby in a letter to a solicitor acting for the family of one of the casualties, resides entirely with Flightline BCN, the Barcelona, Spain-based company that operated the Manx2 flight using its crew and the Swearingen Metroliner that crashed at Cork. The aircraft was owned by Airlada, based in Seville, Spain.
The two pilots and four passengers died when the aircraft turned upside down on landing following an approach in fog. There were six survivors. Since the accident Manx2 has cancelled its contract with Flightline.
Appleby's letter to Stewarts Law, the London solicitor representing one of the affected families, says: "Your client's contract was with Flightline BCN and your client's claim should be directed to that company."
On Manx2's booking website the terms and conditions of carriage on the Belfast City-Cork route state: "We shall be liable to you in the event of an accident resulting in your death or other bodily injury whilst on board an aircraft operated by us or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking."
Manx2's chairman and chief executive Noel Hayes has told Flightglobal that his company hopes to be releasing a clarifying statement late this afternoon.
James Healy-Pratt, a partner at Stewarts Law, says: "Our view is that Manx2 are, in law, the contracting carrier. That makes them as responsible as Flightline, who are the actual carrier." Healy-Pratt says the two companies are jointly liable under European Union law and according to the Montreal Convention.
In Manx2's terms and conditions it says that the company is exempt from the requirement to hold an air transport operator's licence, and that it simply purchases seats from operators on behalf of the clients. The system is designed to protect passengers in the event of the company going out of business.