The Montreal Convention, formally the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, is a treaty adopted by a Diplomatic meeting of ICAO member states in 1999. It amended important provisions of the Warsaw Convention's regime concerning compensation for the victims of air disasters. The Convention re-establishes urgently needed uniformity and predictability of rules relating to the international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo. Whilst maintaining the core provisions which have successfully served the international air transport community for several decades (i.e the Warsaw regime), the new convention achieves the required modernisation in a number of key areas. It protects the passengers by introducing a modern two-tier liability system and by facilitating the swift recovery of proven damages without the need for lengthy litigation.
Under the Montreal Convention, air carriers are strictly liable for proven damages up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), approximately $138,000 per passenger at the time of its ratification by the United States in 2003. (As of January 2007, the value has risen to roughly $149,000.) For damages above 100,000 SDR's, the airline must show the accident that caused injury or death was not due to their negligence or was attributable to the negligence of a third party. The Convention also amended the jurisdictional provisions of Warsaw and now allows the victim or their families to sue foreign carriers where they maintain their principal residence, and requires all air carriers to carry liability insurance.
The Montreal Convention also changes and generally increases the maximum liability of airlines for lost baggage to a fixed amount 1000 SDRs (the amount in the Warsaw Convention is based on weight of the baggage).
Montreal convention was brought about mainly to amend liabilities to be paid to families for death or injury whilst on board an aircraft.
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