Air Transat passengers accept early deal

About 90 of 293 passengers have accepted an Air Transat offer of $12,500 each as compensation for 2001 emergency landing.

Air Transat is offering $12,500 each to passengers who survived a mid-Atlantic emergency landing in 2001.

Toronto Lawyer Tony Azevedo says at least 90 of the 293 passengers have accepted the deal. Azevedo, who represents those who settled, says some of the passengers plan to sue the airline as individuals.

Rachel Andrews, spokesperson for Air Transat, said the company has settled with a number of passengers but refused to provide details.

On August 24, 2001, Air Transat pilots made a risky glide into the Azores with the engines shut off. An engine fuel leak forced the pilots to cut power to the Airbus headed to Lisbon from Toronto.

Capt. Robert Piche was hailed as a hero at the time for flying the jet for 19 minutes before making a hard landing at an airbase. A number of passengers suffered fractures and shock but no one died.

A recent official Portuguese report investigating the crash blamed faulty maintenance and noted the pilots failed to recognize the leak.

Glen Grenier, whose firm is heading a class-action lawsuit against the airline, says he doesn't support accepting an early agreement.

"It was not an offer we could recommend," says Grenier, adding that his clients suffered serious injuries ranging from cracked vertebrae to hearing loss.

Passengers who accept the deal are required to give up any future claims against the carrier.

Other companies are also suing Air Transat over the incident. Engine-maker Rolls-Royce accuses the airline of failing to follow maintenance guidelines for the engines in the plane and Airbus claims the flight crew wasn't trained to deal with the leak.