Jan 29, 2009

Fairer compensation for air travellers

Fairer compensation for air travellers

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

January 29 2009

Australians flying overseas will now receive fairer and timelier compensation in the event they lose their luggage, their flight is extensively delayed or they are involved in an airline accident.

The new arrangements follow Australia’s recent ratification of the Montreal Convention. This multilateral agreement includes new, tougher liability regimes for:

  • The death or injury of a passenger;
  • The loss or damage to a passenger’s baggage;
  • The loss or damage to a freight shipment; and
  • Delays to the scheduled arrival of a passenger, baggage or freight.

Every year almost 6 million Australians travel overseas. Now each of them can do so confident that in the unlikely event that the unthinkable happens, they or their families will be financially compensated.

Under the Convention, airlines can be required to compensate passengers for all proven damages. This compares to the old system where compensation was commonly capped at an amount set in the 1920s in a currency that no longer exists.

The compensation cap has been removed entirely in the case of death or injury.

Some 86 countries have already ratified the Convention, including most major destinations for Australian travellers. The US, Japan, China and New Zealand did so in 2003, while the UK and most European Union countries signed on in 2004.

The fact Australia has only now signed up to the stronger protections afforded under the Montreal Convention – a decade after it was negotiated – is yet another example of the previous government turning its back on the international community to the detriment of Australians.

The Convention was negotiated in 1999, is administered by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and applies to flights between signatory countries.

For more information: www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/international/liability.aspx