Richard Boucher, Spokesman
September 5, 2003
Ratification of the 1999 Montreal Convention
Released on September 5, 2003
Earlier today, the United States deposited with the International Civil Aviation Organization the U.S. instrument of ratification of the 1999 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, known as the “Montreal Convention”. The Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on July 31. The United States is the thirtieth state to consent to be bound by the Convention, which will bring the Convention into force sixty days from today.
The Montreal Convention is the culmination of over four decades of efforts by the United States to eliminate the unconscionably low limits of liability provided under the 1929 Warsaw Convention when passengers are killed or injured in international air carrier accidents.
The significant new benefits of the Montreal Convention include:
Completely eliminating liability limits for death or injury of passengers.
Allowing lawsuits in cases of passenger death or injury to be brought in the courts of the passenger’s “principal and permanent residence” where the carrier has a commercial presence in that state, which will in almost all cases ensure that U.S. citizens and permanent residents can bring an action in U.S. courts.
Retaining, in all important substantive respects, the cargo provisions of Montreal Protocol No. 4, which updated the Warsaw Convention’s outdated rules for cargo documentation.
Clarifying the joint liability of the ticketing carrier and operating carrier in code-share operations, which are now widely used in international air transportation.