Montreal Convention

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Montreal Convention
Convention for the Unification of certain rules for international carriage by air
Signed28 May 1999 (1999-05-28)
LocationMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Effective4 November 2003
Parties137 (136 states + EU)[1]
DepositaryInternational Civil Aviation Organization
LanguagesEnglish, 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 US$75,000 in damages, which should eliminate or reduce protracted litigation.[2]


Under the Montreal Convention, air carriers are strictly liable for proven damages up to 128,821.00 special drawing rights (SDR), a mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) equal to roughly US$175,000.[3][4] Where damages of more than 128,821.00 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 solely to the negligence of a third party.[5] This defense is not available where damages of less than 128,821.00 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.

No compensation purely for psychiatric injury[edit]

The Convention does not recognize compensation for psychiatric injury or damage unless linked to physical injury.[6] Article 17 of the Convention refers to "bodily injury" in setting out the liability of the carrier for accidents.[dubious ] Purely psychiatric injury is not eligible for compensation which has been criticised by people injured in plane accidents,[7] legal experts[8] and their families.[9]


Australia changed its law so as to fit with the Montreal Convention including in some of the following ways

  • the removal of references to ‘personal injury’ and replaced with ‘bodily injury’ under the CACL Act[10] to ensure consistency with the 1999 Montreal Convention concerning international flights;
  • the preclusion of potential claimants from claiming compensation for mental injuries where that person has not suffered additional personal or property damage[10]

Independent Australian senator Nick Xenophon will introduce a private member's bill into the Australian Parliament in May 2015 which will seek to protect the rights of plane crash survivors to be compensated for psychological trauma.[8]

Leading Australian current affairs TV show 4 Corners on the government owned broadcaster ABC,[11] broadcast a program[12] focusing on the unfairness and injustice of excluding psychiatric injury on March 23, 2015 featuring Karen Casey, a nurse injured when the medical evacuation flight she was nursing on crashed in the waters off Norfolk Island.

Lost baggage[edit]

The Montreal Convention changes and generally increases the maximum liability of airlines for lost baggage to a fixed amount 1,131 SDR per passenger (the amount in the Warsaw Convention is based on weight of the baggage). It requires airlines to fully compensate travelers the cost of replacement items purchased until the baggage is delivered, to a maximum of 1,131 SDR. At 21 days any delayed baggage is considered lost, until the airline finds and delivers it.

Disabled passengers and mobility equipment[edit]

The limitation of compensation for damage to baggage to 1,131 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. While for non-disabled people the major issue is the loss of hold baggage, for disabled people the problem tends to be physical damage to wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment due to inappropriate stowage in the hold. Even a basic individually-fitted wheelchair may cost twice the available compensation, with a three-month lead time for replacement. There have been further problems with airlines being reluctant to recognise that cheap mass-market wheelchairs may be unsuitable as even a temporary replacement due to the common need for customised seating solutions among long-term wheelchair users.

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 traveling by air"[13] notes this disadvantage in relation to EC 1107/2006 "rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when traveling by air".[14]

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 September 2018, there are 133 parties to the Convention. Included in this total is 132 of the 191 ICAO Member States plus the European Union. The states that have ratified represent 131 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, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nepal Norway, Pakistan, Russia Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.[1]

Member state Date of entry into force Notes
 Afghanistan - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Albania 19 December 2004
 Algeria - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Andorra 28 June 2004
 Angola - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Antigua and Barbuda - None International Protocol
 Argentina 14 February 2010
 Armenia 15 June 2010
 Australia 24 January 2009
 Austria 28 June 2004
 Azerbaijan 11 April 2015
 Bahamas Signed. Not ratified
 Bahrain 4 November 2003
 Bangladesh Signed. Not ratified
 Barbados 4 November 2003
 Belarus - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Belgium 28 June 2004
 Belize 4 November 2003
 Benin 29 May 2004
 Bhutan - None International Protocol
 Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 5 July 2015
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 8 May 2007
 Botswana 4 November 2003
 Brazil 18 July 2006
 Brunei Darussalam 17 May 2020
 Bulgaria 9 January 2004
 Burkina Faso 25 August 2013
 Burundi - None International Protocol
 Cabo Verde 22 October 2004
 Cambodia Signed. Not ratified
 Cameroon 4 November 2003
 Canada 4 November 2003
 Central African Republic Signed. Not ratified
 Chad 10 September 2017
 Chile 18 May 2009
 China 31 July 2005
 Colombia 4 November 2003
 Comoros - Warsaw Convention
 Congo 17 February 2012
 Costa Rica 8 August 2011
 Côte d'Ivoire 5 April 2015
 Croatia 23 March 2008
 Cuba 13 December 2005
 Cyprus 4 November 2003
 Czech Republic 4 November 2003
 North Korea - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 19 September 2014
 Denmark 28 June 2004
 Djibouti - None International Protocol
 Dominica - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Dominican Republic 20 November 2007
 Ecuador 26 August 2006
 Egypt 25 April 2005
 El Salvador 6 January 2008
 Equatorial Guinea 17 November 2015
 Eritrea - None International Protocol
 Estonia 4 November 2003
 Ethiopia 22 June 2014
 Fiji 9 January 2016
 Finland 28 June 2004
 France 28 June 2004
 Gabon 5 April 2014
 Gambia 9 May 2004
 Georgia 18 February 2011
 Germany 28 June 2004
 Ghana 3 August 2018
 Greece 4 November 2003
 Grenada - Hague Protocol
 Guatemala 6 August 2016
 Guinea - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Guinea-Bissau - None International Protocol
 Guyana 21 February 2015
 Haiti - None International Protocol
 Honduras 16 January 2016
 Hungary 7 January 2005
 Iceland 16 August 2004
 India 30 June 2009
 Indonesia 19 May 2017
 Iran (Islamic Republic of) - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Iraq - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Ireland 28 June 2004
 Israel 20 March 2011
 Italy 28 June 2004
 Jamaica 5 September 2009
 Japan 4 November 2003
 Jordan 4 November 2003
 Kazakhstan 31 August 2015
 Kenya 4 November 2003
 Kiribati - None International Protocol
 Kuwait 4 November 2003
 Kyrgyzstan - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Lao People's Democratic Republic - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Latvia 15 February 2005
 Lebanon 14 May 2005
 Lesotho - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Liberia - Warsaw Convention
 Libya - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Liechtenstein 28 June 2004
 Lithuania 29 January 2005
 Luxembourg 28 June 2004
 Madagascar 26 February 2007
 Malawi - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Malaysia 29 February 2008
 Maldives 30 December 2005
 Mali 16 March 2008
 Malta 4 July 2004
 Marshall Islands - None International Protocol
 Mauritania - Warsaw Convention
 Mauritius 3 April 2017
 Mexico 4 November 2003
 Micronesia (Federated States of) - None International Protocol
 Monaco 17 October 2004
 Mongolia 4 December 2004
 Montenegro 16 March 2010
 Morocco 14 June 2010
 Mozambique 28 March 2014
 Myanmar - Warsaw Convention
 Namibia 4 November 2003
 Nauru - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
   Nepal 15 December 2018
 Netherlands 28 June 2004
 New Zealand 4 November 2003
 Nicaragua - None International Protocol
 Niger 1 April 2018
 Nigeria 4 November 2003
 Norway 28 June 2004
 Oman 27 July 2007
 Pakistan 17 February 2007
 Palau - None International Protocol
 Panama 4 November 2003
 Papua New Guinea - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Paraguay 4 November 2003
 Peru 4 November 2003
 Philippines 18 December 2015
 Poland 18 March 2006
 Portugal 4 November 2003
 Qatar 14 November 2005
 South Korea 29 December 2007
 Republic of Moldova 16 May 2009
 Romania 4 November 2003
 Russian Federation 21 August 2017
 Rwanda 19 December 2015
 Saint Kitts and Nevis - None International Protocol
 Saint Lucia - None International Protocol
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 28 May 2004
 Samoa - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 San Marino - None International Protocol
 Sao Tome and Principe - None International Protocol
 Saudi Arabia 14 December 2003
 Senegal 6 November 2016
 Serbia 4 April 2010
 Seychelles 12 November 2010
 Sierra Leone 24 January 2016
 Singapore 16 November 2007
 Slovakia 4 November 2003
 Slovenia 4 November 2003
 Solomon Islands - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Somalia - None International Protocol
 South Africa 21 January 2007
 South Sudan - None International Protocol
 Spain 28 June 2004
 Sri Lanka 18 January 2019
 Sudan 17 October 2017
 Suriname - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Swaziland 22 January 2017
 Sweden 28 June 2004
  Switzerland 5 September 2005
 Syrian Arab Republic 4 November 2003
 Tajikistan - None International Protocol
 Thailand 2 October 2017
 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 4 November 2003
 Timor-Leste - None International Protocol
 Togo 26 November 2016
 Tonga 19 January 2004
 Trinidad and Tobago - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Tunisia 20 November 2018
 Turkey 26 March 2011
 Turkmenistan - Warsaw Convention
 Tuvalu - None International Protocol
 Uganda 27 January 2018
 Ukraine 5 May 2009
 United Arab Emirates 4 November 2003
 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 28 June 2004
 United Republic of Tanzania 4 November 2003
 United States of America 4 November 2003
 Uruguay 4 April 2008
 Uzbekistan - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Vanuatu 8 January 2006
 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Viet Nam 26 November 2018
 Yemen - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
 Zambia Signed. Not ratified
 Zimbabwe - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Signatures and ratifications.
  2. ^ A 73-Year Odyssey: The Time Has Come For a New International Air Liability System.
  3. ^ "2019 Revised Limits of Liability Under the Montreal Convention of 1999".
  4. ^ "MC99" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  5. ^ "The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99)".
  6. ^ "17 - Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air - Montreal, 28 May 1999".
  7. ^ 2009 Pel-Air Westwind ditching
  8. ^ a b "Pel-Air crash survivor Karen Casey entitled to compensation for psychological trauma, Nick Xenophon says". ABC News.
  9. ^ "Karen Casey, Pel-Air crash survivor tells of PTSD on 4 Corners". NewsComAu.
  11. ^ "ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation".
  12. ^ "Ditched".
  13. ^ Scope of Liability.
  14. ^ (EC)1107/2006.

External links[edit]