Montreal Convention 1999 Original limit (SDRs) Revised limit (SDRs) as of 30 December 2009 Revised limit (SDRs) as of 28 December 2019
Article 21
Compensation in Case of Death or Injury to Passengers
100,000 113,100 128,821
Article 22, paragraph 1
Limits of Liability in Relation to Delay
4,150 4,694 5,346
Article 22, paragraph 2
Limits of Liability in Relation to Baggage
1,000 1,131 1,288
Article 22, paragraph 3
Limits of Liability in Relation to Cargo
17 19 22

What is the Montreal Convention?

The Montreal Convention 1999 is a treaty that was made with the aim of unifying the existing rules of international carriage by air. It was envisaged that the convention would be a universal treaty for governing airline liability in the case of death or injury to passengers, as well as in cases of delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo.

Is the Montreal Convention 1999 applicable in Kenya?

The Montreal Convention 1999 is effective in Kenya by virtue of Article 2(6) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The Montreal Convention 1999 is applicable specifically to international carriage of persons, baggage or cargo. In Kenya, the provisions of the Montreal Convention 1999 do not apply to domestic carriage by air.

Why have the limits of liability been revised?

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is tasked with reviewing the limits of liability under Article 24 of the Montreal Convention. The revised limits of liability established under Articles 21 and 22 of the said convention come into effect on 28 December 2019.

 The review of limits is to be conducted every five years by ICAO who are tasked with determining whether the levels of liability need to be revised for inflation. ICAO proposed a 13.9% increase to the Montreal Convention 1999 liability limits based on the accumulated rate of inflation (weighted by reference to the average Consumer Price Indices of the United States, Japan, China, European Union and the United Kingdom) since 2008, when the last adjustment was made.

What is the effect of the revised limits?

The increase in liability limits by 13.9% means that there will be an increase in levels of compensation for international carriage by air. The likely effect of this:

  • on insurers – the levels of compensation paid out will increase;
  • on airlines – their insurance premiums will increase;
  • on passengers – there is likely to be an increase in air ticket prices to cushion the airlines for the increase in compensation levels.

What is a Special Drawing Right (SDR)?

An SDR is an international reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund. Under Article 23 of the Montreal Convention 1999, SDRs shall be converted into local currencies in terms of SDR at the date of the judgment. This means that the revised rates will apply to any judgments delivered after 28 December 2019, irrespective of the date of filing suit.

The method of calculation is set out by the International Monetary Fund. The current conversion rate for SDR to KSh stands at 1 SDR = Ksh 139.561


1 as at 18 December 2019

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