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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2004 > April
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 29, 2004

European Ratifications of the 1999 Montreal Convention

Today, thirteen member states of the European Union joined Greece and Portugal by depositing with the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal their instruments of ratification of the 1999 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, known as the “Montreal Convention." In addition, the European Community also deposited an instrument of ratification as a Regional Economic Integration Organization. The United States welcomes this important step, which will expand significantly the scope of application of the Convention, to the benefit of passengers, shippers, and airlines. We look forward to working with the European Union to persuade other countries to ratify the Convention.

The Montreal Convention entered into force on November 4, 2003. The United States was the thirtieth nation to ratify the convention on September 5, 2003. To date, 51 countries have ratified the Convention, counting the fifteen European Union member states.

The Montreal Convention represents an enormous step forward in modernizing international passenger and cargo liability law. The significant new benefits of the Montreal Convention include:

  • 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  • Retaining most cargo provisions of Montreal Protocol No. 4, which updated the Warsaw Convention’s outdated rules for cargo documentation.

  • Clarifying the joint liability of marketing and operating carriers in code-share operations, which are now widely used in international air transportation.


Released on April 29, 2004

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