June 24 2009
On April 14 2009 Parliament passed an act which finally ratified the 1999 Montreal Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air.
Turkey was one of the original signatories to the convention when it was made in 1999, but as it was not ratified by Parliament, it was not applicable in Turkey. According to the Turkish Constitution, international treaties and conventions gain the status and force of national legislation upon being ratified by Parliament.
While the convention applies only to international carriages as defined therein, the ratification also signals a change to the rules applicable to domestic carriages by air. The Civil Aviation Act provides that rules on carriage by air in conventions ratified by Turkey also apply to domestic carriages.
Formerly, Turkey was a signatory to the Warsaw Convention, as amended by the Hague Convention and the Montreal Protocol IV. Therefore, passenger and baggage liability limits were subject to the gold standard. In monetary terms, the liability limit for death and injury claims was $460,000, and baggage claims were limited to $460 per kilogram (kg). Under the new Montreal regime which brings the special drawing rights standard, the limits are $155,000 for death and injury, and $155 per passenger for baggage claims. This can certainly not be called an improvement, but such are the peculiarities of the international liability limitation system when adapted to national laws.
Under the former regime, a passenger who lost baggage weighing 30kg would be entitled to an upper limit of $13,800. Now a mere $155 will be payable. It remains to be seen whether this new limit will lead to any adjustments in airline liability insurance premiums.
For further information on this topic please contact Mehmet Ali Kartal at Aybay & Aybay by telephone (+61 2 9296 2000) or by fax (+61 2 9296 3999) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Mehmet Ali Kartal