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Air Passengers (Liability)

Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the current limits, expressed in £ sterling, of liability for air passengers on scheduled international flights under the Warsaw Convention/Hague Protocol; when last these were increased ; and whether he is taking any action to secure agreement to a further increase.

The Warsaw Convention of 1929 set a limit of liability of 125,000 Poincare gold francs—equivalent at present to £4,836—and this was revised by the Hague Protocol of 1955 to 250,000 Poincare gold francs—equivalent at £9,672. The convention, however permits airlines to enter into a special contract with its passengers to raise the limit of liability and United Kingdom airlines are required by virtue of a standard condition in air transport licences to contract in respect of international carriage for a limit of not less than US$58,000—about £25,000. The largest proportion of international carriage by air is now subject to this limit or higher ones.

The United Kingdom supports the adoption of the 1975 Montreal Protocol No. 3 which would raise the Warsaw-Hague limit to 100,000 special drawing rights—about £56,000—but this is not yet in force. The Civil Aviation Authority has recently published a proposal that limit set by the relevant condition in air transport licences should be revised to 100,000 special drawing rights, and consultations are now in process.