Context: The recent crash of the Air India Express plane at Kozhikode makes the airline liable to pay compensation of Rs 1.19 crore per passenger in case of death or bodily injury, according to the charter of passenger rights notified by the Central government.

How is this amount calculated?

  • As per the charter of passenger rights for air travellers, the compensation is calculated based on payment of damages of up to 1,13,100 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), or around Rs 1.19 crore, for international flights. 
    • The currency value of the SDR is based on market exchange rates of a basket of major currencies - US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen and Pound Sterling.
  • Death or bodily injury during domestic flights: airlines are liable to pay up to Rs 20 lakh per passenger.
  • Death inside an aircraft due to natural cases: airlines are not liable to pay any compensation on both international and domestic flights.
  • These norms have been defined under The Carriage By Air (Amendment) Act of 2016, based on India’s adoption of the Montreal Convention in 2009, which unifies rules governing compensation to passengers globally.
  • The liability limits are revised once every five years by the UN body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on the basis of a determined inflation factor of 13.1 per cent, triggering an adjustment in the limits.

The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) 

  • It establishes airline liability in the case of death or injury to passengers, as well as in cases of delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo. 
  • It unifies all of the different international treaty regimes covering airline liability that had developed haphazardly since 1929. 
  • MC99 is designed to be a single, universal treaty to govern airline liability around the world.
  • 32 of the 191 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) contracting States, or 68% of the total are Parties to it. 

The Carriage By Air (Amendment) Act (2016)

  • The Act regulates carriage by air and gives effect to the Warsaw Convention, 1929, the Warsaw Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol, 1955, and the Montreal Convention, 1999. 
  • The Act also provides for application of the international rules to domestic travel, subject to exceptions and adaptations.
  • It increased compensation to air travellers in case of death, injury, lost baggage or even inordinate delay in flights.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 

  • It is a UN specialized agency, established by States in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).
  • ICAO works with the Convention’s 193 Member States and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.
Image Source: IE