Asiana said the payout isn't designed to deter further claims against the company, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
"We figured there are passengers or families that need cash immediately," an airline spokesman said. "As it takes at least a few months to complete payment of the full insurance claims, we decided to pay part of what would be the final payment in advance."
The South Korean airline said the decision to award initial compensation is in line with recent global practice although the move is unusual in South Korea.
Asiana denied responsibility for the July 6 crash in response to the first lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
The airline said passengers contributed to their own injuries
California attorney Gerald Sterns, who handles aviation cases but is not party to any litigation related to the Asiana crash, said Asiana's denial of responsibility is "standard stuff."
"The standard defenses are: 'It didn't happen. If it did happen, we didn't do it. If your guy got hurt, he caused his own injuries,'" Sterns said.