The Montreal Convention of 1999 ("MC99") establishes
liability limits for commercial aircraft operators for damages in
relation to the international carriage of passengers, baggage and
cargo. Article 17 provides that the carrier is liable for the
death or bodily injury of a passenger involving an accident which
occurs on board the aircraft or in the course of embarking or
disembarking. MC99 also provides that the operator may be
liable for damage or loss to baggage or cargo and for delay.
Articles 21 and 22 of MC99 set out limits to the amount of this
liability. These limits are expressed in Special Drawing
Rights ("SDRs"), an international "currency"
established by the International Monetary Fund. The value of
a SDR is calculated in reference to a selection of the major
currencies in the world's trading and financial systems.
Currently, the selection includes the U.S. dollar, Euro, Japanese
Yen and Pound Sterling. One SDR has an approximate value of
Article 24 of MC99 has a built-in mechanism which provides for
the periodic review of the limits of liability and their revision,
as necessary. The first review of the liability limits was
conducted in 2009, and led to an increase adjustment of the limits
for damages for both claims of bodily injury and death as well as
claims for delay and damage or loss of baggage and cargo.
Effectively, ICAO increased the limits of liability by 13.1%.
The Montreal Convention provides that the review of these limits
is to be conducted every five years and must take into
consideration inflation factors. In 2014, ICAO conducted its
second review of the liability limits and recently released its
determination. For the most recent review, the inflation
factor was determined to be below the threshold stipulated to
trigger an adjustment. Accordingly, the limits of liability
will remain at their present levels for the next five years.
These levels of liability are limited as follows:
For destruction, loss, damage or delay of baggage: 1,131
For destruction, loss, damage or delay of cargo: 19 SDRs per
For damage caused by delay: 4,694 SDRs
For bodily injury or death, the carrier will be strictly liable
for provable damages up to 113,100 SDRs
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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