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How Patchwork Liability Regimes Impact Airlines & Passengers

The example below shows some of the complexity and unfairness created by the patchwork of different liability regimes that exist and that would be resolved if all states ratified MC99.

A flight is operating from Singapore (SIN) to Jakarta (JKT), Indonesia. Singapore is a party to MC99 but Indonesia has not yet ratified MC99. Two passengers next to each other are subject to the provisions of different liability regimes and significantly different levels of compensation in the case of an accident or incident.

Likewise, the ratification of MC99 also impacts air cargo. Although Singapore has ratified MC99, shippers will not be able to benefit from the use of electronic documents such as e-air waybills on this route.

Different results: 

  • Passengers traveling on one-way tickets from SIN-JKT (or JKT to SIN) are covered by the Warsaw Convention. Theoretically, in the case of an accident or injury passengers would be entitled to claim the equivalent of just USD12,000. This is because both States must be party to MC99 in order for it's conditions to apply. In this case, we must look to the Convention that both States have ratified to determine which applies. Both countries are parties to the Warsaw Convention so this would apply.
  • Passengers traveling to JKT on the outbound of round-trip ticket SIN-JKT-SIN. MC99 applies as Singapore has ratified MC99 and the destination of the round trip ticket is Singapore. Theoretically, in the case of an accident or injury passengers would be entitled to claim the equivalent of USD170,000, though they can claim beyond this amount.  
  • Passengers traveling to JKT on the return leg of a roundtrip ticket JKT-SIN-JKT. Warsaw Convention applies as Indonesia has ratified Warsaw only and the destination of the round trip ticket is JKT. Theoretically, in the case of an accident or injury passengers would be entitled to claim the equivalent of just USD12,000.
  • Airlines will not use electronic air waybills (eAWBs) on the route. In order to use eAWBs and rely on the limits of liability outlined in the MC99, both origin and destination countries must have ratified MC99.

The table below shows differing liability limits associated with regimes currently in place

Differing liability limits associated with regimes currently in place

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