Montreal Convention

The international air transport sector has certain unified rules governing airline liabilities since the Warsaw Convention back in 1929. The most recent update at the international level, and promoted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), was the Montreal Convention in 1999, which entered into force in 2003 and has been ratified by more than 130 countries around the world (Colehan, 2014; ICAO, 2021).

The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) governs airline liability for passengers, baggage and cargo on international flights in the following cases:

Montreal Convention 199 Content Items
  • dead, injury or delay to passengers
  • delay, loss or damage to baggage
  • delay, loss or damage to cargo

The MC99 also establish the liabilities’ threshold on each case. The amounts are giving in the IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) international reserve unit SDR (Special Drawing Rights) and converted into Eur and USD

Montreal Convention 1999 Thresholds
Death or injury of passenger100,000 SDR (119,0000 Eur / 144,000 USD)
Delay of passenger4,150 SDR (4,938 Eur / 5,976 USD)
Baggage 1,000 SDR (1,190 Eur / 1,440 USD)
Cargo17 SDR/Kg. (20 Eur/Kg / 24.5 USD/kg)
Table of Airline’s Liabilities Thresholds under the Montreal Convention 1999 (EC, 2001). SDR (Special Drawing Rights) unit used by IMFand exchange rate as Feb 2021 (IMF, 2021)

In addition to the MC99’s liabilities for passengers, baggage and cargo different countries and aviation markets have adopted additional regulation. Taking into account the developments on passenger protection by different states, ICAO has defined some guidelines with the following core principle:

Government authorities should have the flexibility to develop consumer protection regimes which strike an appropriate balance between protection of consumers and industry competitiveness and which take into account States’ different social, political, and economic characteristics, without prejudice to the safety and security of aviation (ICAO, 2016) ”

The EU is one of the aviation market who has adopted regulation on passenger protection and is introduced on the following sections.


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