The Maldives looks set to establish an independent authority to oversee the Civil Aviation Authority regarding civil aircraft accidents and incidents. It will also establish legally enforceable mechanisms to empower investigation officers and obtain evidence relating to accidents and incidents. Accident reporting will be mandatory for aircraft operators and pilots. These are just some of the basic principles that the Maldives must adopt in order to maintain its international obligations under the Chicago Convention.
If the Maldives ratifies the Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Aircraft Equipment Protocol 2001, it is likely to have a direct and positive effect on airlines, passengers and the Maldives economy as a whole. For example, if borrowing costs reduce, this would pave the way for the acquisition of new modern aircraft with less fuel consumption – ultimately enabling airlines to pass on the benefits to passengers in the form of reduced travel costs.
Since Maldivian law contains no compulsory terms and conditions for domestic air carriage, air carriers are free to determine the conditions of carriage. As long as such terms do not violate any other Maldivian laws, they are valid and binding between passengers and consignees. Therefore, it is essential for passengers and consignees to understand the conditions of carriage and their rights in case of an accident, damage or loss of passengers or cargo.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that parties seeking to apply foreign law to a matter in the Maldivian courts have the burden of proving the foreign law to the court. Where a party fails to prove the foreign law, the judge may apply Maldivian law. In light of this, foreign court judgments can be submitted to the Maldivian courts as evidence. Further, a local court decision will be required to enforce a foreign judgment in the Maldives.