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Warsaw Convention on Air Transport (1929)

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Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, signed at Warsaw on 12 October 1929.

The Warsaw Convention was adopted from the very beginning of air transport and has long been the reference text for international air transport.

This Convention has been the subject of numerous amending protocols (the Hague Protocol of 28 September 1955 and the Montreal Protocol of 25 September 1975) resulting in a completely fragmented regime for international air transport. The Montreal Convention was signed in 1999 and attempted to standardize the law.

The Warsaw Convention continues to apply to all international air transport between States that are not parties to the Montreal Convention, or between a State that has ratified the Montreal Convention and a State that is not a party.

The principles set out in the Warsaw Convention relate mainly to the carrier's civil liability regime for damage occurring during carriage.

1. The carrier is liable for damage arising in case of death, injury or any other bodily harm suffered by a passenger when the accident which caused the damage occurred on board the aircraft or during any of the operations of embarking and disembarking. The air passenger is entitled to compensation of up to 16,600 SDRs for the personal injury suffered. The carrier is obliged to issue the passenger with a passenger ticket which must contain a number of details (place, date, destination, etc.).

2. The carrier is liable for damage in the event of destruction, loss or damage to checked baggage or cargo when the event which caused the damage occurred during the air carriage. In case of loss of baggage, compensation is limited to 17 SDRs per kilo of baggage. The carrier is obliged to issue a baggage check.

3. The carrier can only be exonerated from this liability if it proves either that the victim was exclusively at fault, or that it took all measures which could reasonably be required to avoid the damage, or that it was impossible to take such measures.

The document proposed here is the original instrument in English deposited at the United States Library of Congress; it is followed by the list of countries that have ratified this Convention with the dates of ratification and entry into force.

28 pages - in English