|Convention for the Unification of certain rules for international carriage by air|
|Signed||28 May 1999|
|Effective||4 November 2003|
|Parties||104 (103 states + EU)|
|Depositary||International Civil Aviation Organization|
|Languages||English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish|
The Montreal Convention (formally, the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air) is a multilateral treaty adopted by a diplomatic meeting of ICAO member states in 1999. It amended important provisions of the Warsaw Convention's regime concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters. The Convention attempts to re-establish uniformity and predictability of rules relating to the international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo. Whilst maintaining the core provisions which have served the international air transport community for several decades (i.e. the Warsaw regime), the new treaty achieves modernization in a number of key areas. It protects passengers by introducing a two-tier liability system that eliminates the previous requirement of proving willful neglect by the air carrier to obtain more than $75,000 in damages, which should eliminate or reduce protracted litigation.
Under the Montreal Convention, air carriers are strictly liable for proven damages up to 113,100 special drawing rights (SDR) (Updated from 100,000 on 31 December 2009), a mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), approximately $138,000 per passenger at the time of its ratification by the United States in 2003 (as of December 2011, around $175,800). Where damages of more than 113,100 SDR are sought, the airline may avoid liability by proving that the accident which caused the injury or death was not due to their negligence or was attributable to the negligence of a third party. This defence is not available where damages of less than 113,100 SDR are sought. The Convention also amended the jurisdictional provisions of Warsaw and now allows the victim or their families to sue foreign carriers where they maintain their principal residence, and requires all air carriers to carry liability insurance.
The Montreal Convention was brought about mainly to amend liabilities to be paid to families for death or injury whilst on board an aircraft.
The Montreal Convention changes and generally increases the maximum liability of airlines for lost baggage to a fixed amount 1131 SDR per checked item (the amount in the Warsaw Convention is based on weight of the baggage). It requires airlines to fully compensate travellers the cost of replacement items purchased until the baggage is delivered, to a maximum of 1131 SDR. At 21 days any delayed baggage is considered lost, even if the airline delivers it after that period.
Disabled passengers and mobility equipment
The limitation of compensation for damage to baggage to 1131 SDRs means that the value of damaged mobility equipment may often significantly exceed available compensation under the Montreal Convention, while the effect of the loss, even temporarily, of mobility equipment places disabled passengers at a substantially increased disadvantage in comparison to other passengers suffering damaged baggage.
The EU in 'Communication on the scope of the liability of air carriers and airports in the event of destroyed, damaged or lost mobility equipment of passengers with reduced mobility when travelling by air' notes this disadvantage in relation to EC 1107/2006 'rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air'.
The EU report notes that the United States under the Air Carrier Access Act and Canada under Part VII of the Air Transport Regulations have taken action to force airlines to fully cover the costs of damage to mobility equipment as a condition of allowing an airline to operate in their airspace, and notes that the EU may have to take similar steps if the additional duties imposed on airlines by EC 1107/2006 do not resolve the issue.
As August 2013, there are 104 parties to the Convention. Included in this total is 103 of the 191 ICAO Member States plus the European Union. The states that have ratified represent 102 UN member states plus the Cook Islands. Other states that have ratified include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, all member states of the European Union, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.