Relatives of the victims of the AirAsia crash grieve as bodies began to be recovered. (Agence France-Presse)
Indonesia today said AirAsia was "obliged" to pay compensation to the next of kin of the 162 victims on board the crashed plane belonging to the budget airline.
"An airline must pay compensation," Acting Air Transportation Director-General Djoko Murdjatmodjo said.
"The obligation to pay compensation lies with the airline," he said in response to a question on insurance payment by AirAsia.
Payment dispute has arisen after it emerged that the plane was flying on an unauthorised schedule when it crashed.
The AirAsia plane was not permitted to fly the Surabaya- Singapore route on Sundays.
However, Singaporean authorities said that the Surabaya- Singapore route was approved for AirAsia flights on Sundays after the low-cost carrier's permit was frozen by Indonesia.
Reports said AirAsia must pay 1.25 billion rupiah (around USD 100,000) in insurance and other forms of payment to the next of kin of every passenger on the ill-fated flight QZ8501 which crashed with 155 passengers and seven crew members on board on December 28.