ICAO 38th Assembly – Montreal (24 Sept – 4 Oct 2013)
IATA presented a working paper on consumer protection asking that ICAO take the industry principles, adopted at the AGM in Cape Town, as input into the development of policy guidance in this area.
The Resolution approved by the Assembly calls on ICAO to develop high-level, non-prescriptive principles on consumer protection, consistent with the Montreal Convention 1999, and which strike a balance between passenger protection and industry competitiveness.
The work ahead at ICAO will be challenging, as during the discussions it became apparent that states’ philosophies on this issue vary greatly – from a prescriptive approach called for by certain Latin American countries to a market-driven approach adopted by Singapore and Australia.
Air Law matters
The Legal Commission of the 38th Assembly recommended the adoption of Resolution 46/1 to promote the ratification of the Beijing Convention and Protocol of 2010. These counterterrorism instruments, which have not yet entered into force, introduce a number of new criminal offences into international law.
Commission delegates were unanimous in their support for much needed revisions to the Tokyo Convention of 1963, a treaty that governs behavior on board aircraft. A diplomatic conference will be held in March 2014 to adopt modernizing amendments that would strengthen the regime to tackle better the growing problem of unruly passengers. IATA initiated the modernization campaign within ICAO in 2009.
Delegates also unanimously supported Resolution 47/1 calling upon all States to ratify the Montreal Convention of 1999 (MC99) as soon as possible. MC99 modernizes the legal rules for carrier liability and facilitates the use of electronic documentation, which is a prerequisite for IATA’s e-freight and e-AWB programs. A number of delegates referred to IATA’s Working Paper and the industry benefits of ratification in their supporting remarks.
The Assembly recommended that States allow aircraft operators to use any Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) means available, provided that the required performance is met, instead of mandating a particular system with the associated complexities and costs for airspace users. This will help ensure that the industry realizes the benefits of modern Air Traffic Management without needing to retrofit aircraft with unnecessary equipment
On air cargo security the Assembly approved new standards for high risk cargo and supply chain security, both of which were supported by IATA.
On passenger data the Assembly approved IATA’s call for states to increase awareness amongst national immigration and border control officials of the need to comply with ICAO standards on passenger data. We will continue to press for compliance with these standards to be made part of ICAO’s state security audits.