India joins Montreal Convention on compensating air passengers


New Delhi : India has become the 91st member of the Montreal Convention on Civil Aviation that imposes strict penalties on carriers for the death of passengers due to negligence and fixes higher insurance premium towards air disasters.

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The provisions of the convention will take effect June 30 through the Carriage by Air (Amendment) Act 2009, that India has enacted, covering the international carriage of passengers, baggage or cargo by airlines, an official statement said Monday.

The convention imposes a minimum liability of nearly $150,000 for the death of a passenger during flight, unless the airline proves that such damage was due not to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission by the carrier.

To avoid additional damages, the airline will also have to prove that the damage was solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act of a third party, the passengers or of the person claiming the compensation.

“The carrier is also liable for damage occasioned by the delay in the carriage of passengers, baggage or cargo,” said the statement issued by the civil aviation ministry.

“In case of death or injury of passengers, the carrier shall make advance payments without delay,” the statement said, adding that action for damage must be brought within two years.

The Montreal Convention is the first major revision of the provisions related to the death, injury of air passengers, or loss or damage to cargo or baggage since the pact agreed at Warsaw Convention in 1929.