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International Airline Transport
Airline Transport on a Global Scale
Introduction: International Airline Transport
While the national law provisions of the countries are generally applied in passenger or cargo transportation by air, the provisions of the Warsaw or Montreal Convention are applied in international passenger or cargo transportation.
In cases where there is no provision in the convention, the national law provisions agreed by the parties of the contract of carriage have the opportunity to apply. In cases where the national law provisions to be applied by the parties are not decided, conflicts rule will determine the national law provisions which should be applied.
Air Transportation is defined as “the displacement of people and cargo by an aircraft in a time and place benefit”. The concept of transportation or cargo means that any product or any material is taken from an intended place and delivered to another intended point, at the desired time, in healthy conditions.
Although many companies provide services in this field today, when the term ‘Cargo’ is used, it comes to mind as national or international cargo companies that carry out land transportation operations. However, airline law covers the transportation of inanimate objects and passenger transportation.
In other words, due to air transport, people and cargo can change place by air transport conveyance like a plane, helicopter, etc.
Airline Transportation Overseas
With the development and growth of the aviation industry, some problems have arisen, and sometimes these conflicts gained an international dimension. International agreements and conventions have been made to these problems.
In general, the provisions of national law are applied in the first place in domestic transports, while the provisions of the Warsaw or Montreal Convention are applied in international transports. Because the international aspect of air transport is predominant, the provisions of the International Convention are quite important, and they also affect the provisions of national law. The first regulation to introduce uniform rules on international air transport was the Warsaw Convention.
Its full name is Convention on the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, and its Additional Protocol, The Warsaw Convention dated 1929, entered into force on 13 February 1933. With the Convention, in international air transports, the records related to passengers, cargo and baggage, the rights and obligations of the carrier, the passenger, the sender, and the recipient, and the procedures and principles regarding their use and the carrier’s civil liability are designated by the Warsaw Convention and the Montreal Convention, which is its continuation, are determined by Turkish Law. Montreal Convention is the agreement that forms the basis for the disputes.
The Warsaw Convention introduces exemplary rules for international contracts for carriage passengers, baggage, and goods by air.
The Warsaw Convention, which entered into force in 1933, focuses on the most urgent issues for the near future. There was no experience in international transports by air in its period.
These are: protecting a nascent industry from heavy liability in the event of death or injury as a result of an accident and uniformity of passenger ticket and freight notes. In the convention, in which cases the contract will be implemented, when and under what conditions the carrier will be liable, limitation of liability if the carrier is responsible; means of defence that allows the person to reduce or completely avoid liability, in which cases the person claiming compensation can claim compensation beyond the prescribed limit, the exclusive application of the provisions of the contract regarding liability, timely notification of damage in terms of baggage and cargo, the competent court, the period of prescription, who to file a lawsuit when there are more than one carrier, are regulated.
The Montreal Convention was opened for signature by the states participating in the International Air Law Conference held in Montreal to harmonize the Warsaw Convention with present conditions. Turkey has also signed the convention.
The Convention on the Unification of Certain Rules Concerning International Carriage by Air was adopted at the diplomatic conference held in Montreal in May 1999. This convention, called the Montreal Convention, entered into force on 4 November 2003. Currently, 119 states are party to the convention.
What is The Legal Framework of International Airline Cargo Transport?
Carrier’s Liability For Damage to Cargo
Under the Montreal Convention, the carrier’s liability is regulated in articles 17 and the rest. All kinds of goods transported by “cargo” are included within the scope of article 18, titled “Damage of Goods/Cargo,” and the following articles. In this sense, while baggage and mail transports are outside the scope of the article, animals can be transported as cargo within the scope of article 18, depending on the circumstances.
The carrier is liable up to the upper limit when the cargo’s destruction, loss, or damage occurs during the air transport and when the cargo is under the carrier’s control.
Liability of The Damages Caused by The Delay
The carrier is liable for damage caused by delays in transit. The conditions of liability are damage and causation. Suppose the carrier proves that all reasonable measures have been taken to prevent damage or that it is impossible to take these measures. In that case, the carrier is relieved of its liability (MK art.19).
Suppose the carrier proves that the damage was caused by the negligence, wrongful act, or negligence of the person claiming compensation or the person who took over his/her rights or that they contributed to the damage. In that case, the carrier will be relieved of the liability at the rate of the fault that is proved.
The limit of liability is regulated in Article 22/3. According to the provision, the carrier’s liability for destruction, loss, damage, or delay in carriage goods is limited to 17 Special Drawing Rights per kilogram.
Liability of The Carrier For Damages Due to Death or Injury of The Passenger
In the 120th article of the Turkish Civil Aviation Code, it is stated that in case of death of the passenger or any bodily injury, the carrier will be responsible if the accident that caused this damage occurs on the aircraft or during landing or boarding.
The Montreal Convention continued this matter almost exactly as it did in the Warsaw Convention. The carrier is responsible for the death or injury of the passenger due to an accident on board the aircraft or during the landing or boarding operations.
Liability of Carrier For Damage to Baggage
The Montreal Convention distinguishes between baggage delivered to the carrier and undelivered baggage.
The carrier is liable for the loss or damage of the delivered baggage if the event causing the damage occurred on board the aircraft or while the item was in possession of the carrier. If the damage is caused by the nature or fault of the baggage, the carrier is relieved from liability.
In this case, there is an absolute liability. In addition, it should be noted that in the case of contributory negligence, the carrier has the opportunity to avoid liability partially or completely.
For undelivered baggage and personal belongings, the carrier is solely responsible for the fault of himself and his employees.
Related Article: What is The Definition of Work Accident?
Liability of The Carrier For Damage to The Goods
According to the Montreal Convention, the carrier is responsible for the loss or damage of the goods if the event causing the damage occurs during transportation by air.
If the damage is due to the nature of fault of the goods, if the packaging is done by a third party, the wrong packaging of the goods; If it is caused by war or armed conflict or by the acts of public authorities regarding the entry, exit or transit of the goods into the country, the carrier is relieved of liability to the extent that it occurs through one of them.
Conclusion: International Airline Transport
As we have examined, different provisions are applied to domestic and international transportation by air in our country. Different provisions can be applied according to the one-way or round-trip transportation contract and the destination country, even in international transportation.
In domestic transportation, the provisions of the Warsaw Convention and The Hague Protocol that are taken into Turkish Civil Aviation Law are applied, in international transports; one-way or round-trip, the destination country and its amendment to the Warsaw Convention or one of the protocols amending it, or the Montreal Convention are considered to decide upon which agreement to apply.
The difference in international transports will continue until all states that are party to the Warsaw Convention become a party to the Montreal Convention.