Aviation Loss: Terrorism Unlikely

In a recent post we discussed how aviation losses outweighed premiums in 2009, despite a relatively safe year for the airline industry last year. With the crash of Ethiopian Airlines  flight 409  early this morning into the Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon’s south coast aviation insurers appear to have been hit with their first major loss of 2010. The Boeing 737-800, en route to Addis Ababa, crashed shortly after take-off from Beirut after losing contact with airport control amid stormy weather. According to media reports, a total of 90 passengers and crew were on board, including Marla Pietton, wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon. As of yet, no survivors have been found. While it is too soon to speculate on the cause of the crash, several reports quote Lebanese President Michel Suleiman saying a terrorist attack is unlikely. “Sabotage is ruled out as of now,† he said. Others report on the stormy weather conditions in Lebanon at the time, including thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Global Reinsurance has a story on the crash, including some information on the insurance implications. It reports that 54 of those on board were Lebanese. Others on board were citizens of  various countries including Ethiopia, Britain, Canada, Russia, France, Iraq and Syria. Check out I.I.I. aviation facts and stats.

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