Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airlines on Saturday said it has begun contacting the next of kin of those aboard flight MH17 that was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine to initiate the advance compensation payment process.
"We have taken steps to arrange for contractual benefits to which our crew are entitled to be explained and paid to their next of kin, together with a further goodwill payment to help meet the current needs of their families," the airline said.
The airline said the payment of advance compensation would not affect the families` right to claim compensation according to the law at a later stage, but would be calculated as part of the final compensation, state-run news agency Bernama reported.
The airline, however, refused to divulge further details, saying matters relating to compensation remained private and confidential.
Malaysia Airlines noted it was also offering financial assistance of USD 5,000 to families of passengers and crew members, which would not be part of any compensation that may be payable.
"To date, the majority of the families have already received such financial assistance, which will not be part of any compensation that may be payable," it said.
MH17, an international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 398 people on board.
Notably, this was the second tragedy to hit the airlines this year.
Earlier, flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board had gone missing on March 8, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and remains untraceable till date.