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The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99)

Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) is a modernization and unification of the different treaty regimes covering airline liability that have developed haphazardly since 1929. The global ratification of MC99 is an industry priority. MC99 gives consumers better protection and compensation and facilitates faster air cargo shipments, while airlines enjoy greater certainty about the rules affecting their liability.

It also establishes the legal framework that allows airlines to make use of electronic documentation for shipments, thereby reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

A decade after MC99 came into force, however, only 107 of the 191 ICAO-contracting states, or just 55% of the total, have adopted it. A number of fast-growing aviation markets in Asia, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, have yet to sign up. Russia is another notable absentee. This means that a patchwork of liability regimes exists around the world. The result is confusion and complexity in determining which regime covers a particular passenger or cargo itinerary. Claims handling and litigation from claims or accidents are unnecessarily complicated. 

IATA supports universal ratification of MC99

Universal ratification of MC99 by states will provide significant benefits to all parties.

  • Passengers will benefit from fairer compensation and greater protection.
  • Shippers and those involved in the air cargo supply chain will benefit from the ability to make claims without the need for expensive and time consuming litigation. They will also be able to replace paper documents of carriage, such as Air Waybills, with electronic versions, thus facilitating faster and more efficient trade. IATA and FIATA (representing freight forwarders worldwide) are working collaboratively to promote such adoption by states worldwide. The IATA-FIATA position paper (see below) explains how MC99 will help develop trade.
  • Finally, airlines will benefit from greater certainty about the rules governing their liability across their international route network. IATA is thus advocating for the urgent ratification of MC99 by all remaining states.

Position Papers

A Universal Liability Regime for International Carriage by Air - MC99 (pdf)

FIATA - IATA joint position on the need for States to ratify the MC99 to promote trade facilitation (pdf)

The Montreal Convention 1999 (pdf)



Additional information

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