Air Canada has sent $5,000 checks to all 133 passengers aboard an A320 that crashed at Halifax last week and the airline is saying it's a gesture to make amends, not a ploy to blunt legal action. The letter calls the crash an "unfortunate experience" that "inconvenienced" the passengers but it's not loaded with intrigue, according to the airline. "Contrary to statements by third parties, there is no requirement for our customers to sign any commitment," airline spokeswoman Angela Mah told CBC News. Some passengers have asked their lawyers if they can cash the checks without prejudicing their ability to pursue further legal action and the consensus is that they can but the accounting is already being done. "The $5,000 is not an admission of liability, it is a payment for their expenses and inconvenience," personal injury lawyer Ray Wagner said. "If there is a settlement, at the end of the day, for that individual, then that $5,000 will be deducted from it." Still, Wagner says he's curious about the airline's motives.
"I think they are certainly trying to pacify passengers and also to appear responsible in the press," Wagner said. "They may have other motivations, but I'd be concerned that it was anything to do with trying to gut the class, in other words, trying to discourage people from participating in the broader class action that will be going ahead." Meanwhile, airlines, their customers and Stanfield Airport officials are hoping for a spell of good weather while repairs are made to the runway and navaids that were damaged by the crash. The aircraft landed on the ILS localizer on the west end of Runway 05/23, the airport's main runway and its CAT II instrument capability. The runway is NOTAMed closed until April 16.