14 European states sign on to new air treaty with unlimited accident

The Montreal Convention, which replaces the 75-year-old Warsaw Convention System on compensation in cases of international air accidents, introduces a two-tier system, the first providing strict liability of up to 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDR), or about $135,000, irrespective of a carrier’s fault, and the second, based on presumption of fault, with no limit. The 1929 Warsaw Convention set a limit of 125,000 Gold Francs – or about $8,300 – in case of death or injury to passengers. The Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said 14 European contracting states and the European Union (EU) deposited instruments of ratification and approval on 29 April, meaning the new convention will become effective for them on 28 June. The EU countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Norway also ratified the treaty last Thursday. Two other EU countries, Greece and Portugal, ratified it in 2002 and 2003 respectively. The Montreal Convention entered into force on 4 November last year after its ratification by its 30th member – the United States. The number of parties now stands at 52.

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