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The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99)

Air travel is by far the safest form of transport. Every year over 3billion passengers and over 45 million tons of cargo are carried safely and securely by air.

However, accidents and incidents do occur.  The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) establishes airline liability in the case of death, injury or delay to passengers or in cases of delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo., It modernizes and unifies all of the different international treaty regimes covering airline liability that have developed haphazardly since 1929. In short,  it was designed to be a single, universal treaty to govern airline liability around the world.

However, only 119 of the 191 ICAO-contracting States, or just 60% of the total are Parties to it. A number of fast-growing aviation markets in Asia, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, have yet to sign up. Russia is another notable absentee. This means that a patchwork of liability regimes continue exists around the world. The result is unfairness, confusion and complexity in determining which regime covers a particular passenger or cargo itinerary. Claims handling and litigation from accidents or incidents are unnecessarily complicated.

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.

Recognizing the significant benefits that MC99 offers, the 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that took place in 2013 adopted Resolution A38-20. This urges all States that have not done so to ratify MC99 as soon as possible.  IATA is supporting this Resolution and is working with governments to promote the benefits of MC99 and urge ratification.

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


Additional information

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