Nepal to ratify Montreal Convention

Kathmandu, August 8

The government today registered the Montreal Convention in the Parliament Secretariat for its ratification. The convention was adopted by a diplomatic meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) member states in 1999,

Nepal must abide by the provisions of the convention after it becomes a party country of the Montreal Convention and the laws related to the international aviation will be harmonised accordingly, as per Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari.

This convention will raise the insurance coverage of passengers, and the compensation for loss of baggage and cargo will also be increased significantly.

According to the officials of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), insurance coverage per passenger in the international sector will be increased to 100,000 special drawing rights (SDR). The SDR is an international reserve asset, which was created by the International Monetary Fund. The current valuation of one SDR is around $1.39.

At present, insurance coverage of passengers in international sector is just $20,000 per passenger. As per the Montreal Convention, the carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death and bodily injury of passengers on condition that the accident took place onboard the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking and disembarking.

Likewise, in the carriage of baggage, the liability of the carrier in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay is limited to 1,000 SDR and 17 SDR per kg in the destruction, loss, damage or delay of cargo, as per the provision of convention.

Once ratified, the insurance coverage of Nepali passengers will be increased after almost 60 years by around six folds from the current level. Due to lack of ratification of the Montreal Convention, the insurance coverage of Nepali passengers had remained low. The insurance coverage of passengers was fixed at $20,000 from the Hague Protocol in 1955 and Nepal is a party nation of the Hague Protocol. Prior to that, the Warsaw Convention had fixed insurance coverage at $10,000 for every passenger in 1929. Montreal Convention is friendlier to the air passengers.

In view of the country’s aim to draw in more international tourists and the plans of Nepali carriers to expand to various destinations, ratification of Montreal Convention is crucial, as per MoCTCA. “All international carriers that fly to Kathmandu sector provide insurance coverage of 100,000 SDR to every passenger, as their countries have already become a party nation of Montreal Convention. The international carriers of Nepal, like Nepal Airlines and Himalaya Airlines, provide insurance coverage of same amount for nationals of party nations, but the insured amount for Nepali passengers is only $20,000.”

Montreal Convention has so far been ratified by 119 countries and the European Union.

The ministry is also preparing to raise insurance coverage of domestic airlines passengers to at least $50,000  by amending  the existing laws.