Montreal Convention

The Montreal Convention (formally, the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air) is a multilateral 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 attempts to re-establish uniformity and predictability of rules relating to the international carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo. Whilst maintaining the core provisions which have served the international air transport community for several decades (i.e., the Warsaw regime), the new treaty achieves modernization in a number of key areas. It protects passengers by introducing a two-tier liability system that eliminates the previous requirement of proving willful neglect by the air carrier to obtain more than US$75,000 in damages, which should eliminate or reduce protracted litigation.[2]

Montreal Convention
Long name:
  • Convention for the Unification of certain rules for international carriage by air
Signed28 May 1999 (1999-05-28)
LocationMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Effective4 November 2003
Parties137 (136 states + EU)[1]
DepositaryInternational Civil Aviation Organization
LanguagesEnglish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish


Under the Montreal Convention, air carriers are strictly liable for proven damages up to 128,821.00 special drawing rights (SDR), a mix of currency values established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) equal to roughly US$175,000.[3][4] Where damages of more than 128,821.00 SDR are sought, the airline may avoid liability by proving that the accident which caused the injury or death was not due to their negligence or was attributable solely to the negligence of a third party.[5] This defense is not available where damages of less than 128,821.00 SDR are sought. 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 was brought about mainly to amend liabilities to be paid to families for death or injury whilst on board an aircraft.

No compensation purely for psychiatric injuryEdit

The Convention does not recognize compensation for psychiatric injury or damage unless linked to physical injury.[6] Article 17 of the Convention refers to "bodily injury" in setting out the liability of the carrier for accidents.[dubious ] Purely psychiatric injury is not eligible for compensation which has been criticised by people injured in plane accidents,[7] legal experts[8] and their families.[9]


Australia changed its law so as to fit with the Montreal Convention including in some of the following ways

  • the removal of references to ‘personal injury’ and replaced with ‘bodily injury’ under the CACL Act[10] to ensure consistency with the 1999 Montreal Convention concerning international flights;
  • the preclusion of potential claimants from claiming compensation for mental injuries where that person has not suffered additional personal or property damage[10]

Independent Australian senator Nick Xenophon will introduce a private member's bill into the Australian Parliament in May 2015 which will seek to protect the rights of plane crash survivors to be compensated for psychological trauma.[8]

Leading Australian current affairs TV show 4 Corners on the government owned broadcaster ABC,[11] broadcast a program[12] focusing on the unfairness and injustice of excluding psychiatric injury on March 23, 2015 featuring Karen Casey, a nurse injured when the medical evacuation flight she was nursing on crashed in the waters off Norfolk Island.

Lost baggageEdit

The Montreal Convention changes and generally increases the maximum liability of airlines for lost baggage to a fixed amount 1,131 SDR per passenger (the amount in the Warsaw Convention is based on weight of the baggage). It requires airlines to fully compensate travelers the cost of replacement items purchased until the baggage is delivered, to a maximum of 1,131 SDR. At 21 days any delayed baggage is considered lost, until the airline finds and delivers it.

Disabled passengers and mobility equipmentEdit

The limitation of compensation for damage to baggage to 1,131 SDRs means that the value of damaged mobility equipment may often significantly exceed available compensation under the Montreal Convention, while the effect of the loss, even temporarily, of mobility equipment places disabled passengers at a substantially increased disadvantage in comparison to other passengers suffering damaged baggage. While for non-disabled people the major issue is the loss of hold baggage, for disabled people the problem tends to be physical damage to wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment due to inappropriate stowage in the hold. Even a basic individually-fitted wheelchair may cost twice the available compensation, with a three-month lead time for replacement. There have been further problems with airlines being reluctant to recognise that cheap mass-market wheelchairs may be unsuitable as even a temporary replacement due to the common need for customised seating solutions among long-term wheelchair users.

The EU in "Communication on the scope of the liability of air carriers and airports in the event of destroyed, damaged or lost mobility equipment of passengers with reduced mobility when traveling by air"[13] notes this disadvantage in relation to EC 1107/2006 "rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when traveling by air".[14]

The EU report notes that the United States under the Air Carrier Access Act and Canada under Part VII of the Air Transport Regulations have taken action to force airlines to fully cover the costs of damage to mobility equipment as a condition of allowing an airline to operate in their airspace, and notes that the EU may have to take similar steps if the additional duties imposed on airlines by EC 1107/2006 do not resolve the issue.


As September 2018, there are 133 parties to the Convention. Included in this total is 132 of the 191 ICAO Member States plus the European Union. The states that have ratified represent 131 UN member states plus the Cook Islands. Other states that have ratified include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, all member states of the European Union, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nepal Norway, Pakistan, Russia Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.[1]

Member state Date of entry into force Notes
  Afghanistan - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Albania 19 December 2004
  Algeria - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Andorra 28 June 2004
  Angola - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Antigua and Barbuda - None International Protocol
  Argentina 14 February 2010
  Armenia 15 June 2010
  Australia 24 January 2009
  Austria 28 June 2004
  Azerbaijan 11 April 2015
  Bahamas Signed. Not ratified
  Bahrain 4 November 2003
  Bangladesh Signed. Not ratified
  Barbados 4 November 2003
  Belarus - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Belgium 28 June 2004
  Belize 4 November 2003
  Benin 29 May 2004
  Bhutan - None International Protocol
  Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 5 July 2015
  Bosnia and Herzegovina 8 May 2007
  Botswana 4 November 2003
  Brazil 18 July 2006
  Brunei Darussalam 17 May 2020
  Bulgaria 9 January 2004
  Burkina Faso 25 August 2013
  Burundi - None International Protocol
  Cabo Verde 22 October 2004
  Cambodia Signed. Not ratified
  Cameroon 4 November 2003
  Canada 4 November 2003
  Central African Republic Signed. Not ratified
  Chad 10 September 2017
  Chile 18 May 2009
  China 31 July 2005
  Colombia 4 November 2003
  Comoros - Warsaw Convention
  Congo 17 February 2012
  Costa Rica 8 August 2011
  Côte d'Ivoire 5 April 2015
  Croatia 23 March 2008
  Cuba 13 December 2005
  Cyprus 4 November 2003
  Czech Republic 4 November 2003
  North Korea - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Democratic Republic of the Congo 19 September 2014
  Denmark 28 June 2004
  Djibouti - None International Protocol
  Dominica - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Dominican Republic 20 November 2007
  Ecuador 26 August 2006
  Egypt 25 April 2005
  El Salvador 6 January 2008
  Equatorial Guinea 17 November 2015
  Eritrea - None International Protocol
  Estonia 4 November 2003
  Ethiopia 22 June 2014
  Fiji 9 January 2016
  Finland 28 June 2004
  France 28 June 2004
  Gabon 5 April 2014
  Gambia 9 May 2004
  Georgia 18 February 2011
  Germany 28 June 2004
  Ghana 3 August 2018
  Greece 4 November 2003
  Grenada - Hague Protocol
  Guatemala 6 August 2016
  Guinea - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Guinea-Bissau - None International Protocol
  Guyana 21 February 2015
  Haiti - None International Protocol
  Honduras 16 January 2016
  Hungary 7 January 2005
  Iceland 16 August 2004
  India 30 June 2009
  Indonesia 19 May 2017
  Iran (Islamic Republic of) - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Iraq - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Ireland 28 June 2004
  Israel 20 March 2011
  Italy 28 June 2004
  Jamaica 5 September 2009
  Japan 4 November 2003
  Jordan 4 November 2003
  Kazakhstan 31 August 2015
  Kenya 4 November 2003
  Kiribati - None International Protocol
  Kuwait 4 November 2003
  Kyrgyzstan - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Lao People's Democratic Republic - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Latvia 15 February 2005
  Lebanon 14 May 2005
  Lesotho - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Liberia - Warsaw Convention
  Libya - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Liechtenstein 28 June 2004
  Lithuania 29 January 2005
  Luxembourg 28 June 2004
  Madagascar 26 February 2007
  Malawi - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Malaysia 29 February 2008
  Maldives 30 December 2005
  Mali 16 March 2008
  Malta 4 July 2004
  Marshall Islands - None International Protocol
  Mauritania - Warsaw Convention
  Mauritius 3 April 2017
  Mexico 4 November 2003
  Micronesia (Federated States of) - None International Protocol
  Monaco 17 October 2004
  Mongolia 4 December 2004
  Montenegro 16 March 2010
  Morocco 14 June 2010
  Mozambique 28 March 2014
  Myanmar - Warsaw Convention
  Namibia 4 November 2003
  Nauru - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
    Nepal 15 December 2018
  Netherlands 28 June 2004
  New Zealand 4 November 2003
  Nicaragua - None International Protocol
  Niger 1 April 2018
  Nigeria 4 November 2003
  Norway 28 June 2004
  Oman 27 July 2007
  Pakistan 17 February 2007
  Palau - None International Protocol
  Panama 4 November 2003
  Papua New Guinea - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Paraguay 4 November 2003
  Peru 4 November 2003
  Philippines 18 December 2015
  Poland 18 March 2006
  Portugal 4 November 2003
  Qatar 14 November 2005
  South Korea 29 December 2007
  Republic of Moldova 16 May 2009
  Romania 4 November 2003
  Russian Federation 21 August 2017
  Rwanda 19 December 2015
  Saint Kitts and Nevis - None International Protocol
  Saint Lucia - None International Protocol
  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 28 May 2004
  Samoa - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  San Marino - None International Protocol
  Sao Tome and Principe - None International Protocol
  Saudi Arabia 14 December 2003
  Senegal 6 November 2016
  Serbia 4 April 2010
  Seychelles 12 November 2010
  Sierra Leone 24 January 2016
  Singapore 16 November 2007
  Slovakia 4 November 2003
  Slovenia 4 November 2003
  Solomon Islands - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Somalia - None International Protocol
  South Africa 21 January 2007
  South Sudan - None International Protocol
  Spain 28 June 2004
  Sri Lanka 18 January 2019
  Sudan 17 October 2017
  Suriname - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Swaziland 22 January 2017
  Sweden 28 June 2004
   Switzerland 5 September 2005
  Syrian Arab Republic 4 November 2003
  Tajikistan - None International Protocol
  Thailand 2 October 2017
  The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 4 November 2003
  Timor-Leste - None International Protocol
  Togo 26 November 2016
  Tonga 19 January 2004
  Trinidad and Tobago - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Tunisia 20 November 2018
  Turkey 26 March 2011
  Turkmenistan - Warsaw Convention
  Tuvalu - None International Protocol
  Uganda 27 January 2018
  Ukraine 5 May 2009
  United Arab Emirates 4 November 2003
  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 28 June 2004
  United Republic of Tanzania 4 November 2003
  United States of America 4 November 2003
  Uruguay 4 April 2008
  Uzbekistan - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Vanuatu 8 January 2006
  Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Viet Nam 26 November 2018
  Yemen - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol
  Zambia Signed. Not ratified
  Zimbabwe - Warsaw Convention & Hague Protocol

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Signatures and ratifications.
  2. ^ A 73-Year Odyssey: The Time Has Come For a New International Air Liability System.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "MC99" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  5. ^ IATA: The Montreal Convention 1999 (Article 22)
  6. ^ "17 - Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air - Montreal, 28 May 1999".
  7. ^ 2009 Pel-Air Westwind ditching
  8. ^ a b "Pel-Air crash survivor Karen Casey entitled to compensation for psychological trauma, Nick Xenophon says". ABC News.
  9. ^ "Karen Casey, Pel-Air crash survivor tells of PTSD on 4 Corners". NewsComAu.
  11. ^ "ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation".
  12. ^ "Ditched".
  13. ^ Scope of Liability.
  14. ^ (EC)1107/2006.

External linksEdit