Foreign experts are gathered at the headquarters of the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss changes in the indemnity rules for international flight accident victims, as determined in the Montreal Convention.
Brazil signed the Convention in 1999 but has not ratified it yet. Final approval depends upon a bill that is up for passage before the Chamber of Deputies. 64 countries, including the United States and Canada, have already given their full adherence.
According to the Brazilian General Aviation Association (ABAG), which is sponsoring the event, this is the first time that the Civil Aviation Summit has ever been held outside Montreal.
One of the coordinators, Brigadier General Renato Costa, ex-secretary general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), contends that this convention represents an important mechanism for the protection of passengers and family members of commercial aviation accident victims.
He argues that the previous (Warsaw) treaty “didn’t resolve people’s problems, while this new one sets two levels of compensation.”
According to Costa, the proposed changes compensate family members for the financial difficulties caused by the death of accident victims. In his view, Brazilian ratification is important for the new rules to apply to Brazilian passengers as well.
The Montreal Convention stipulates that, in cases of death, airlines must pay an amount up to the equivalent of around US$ 135 thousand within no more than a week. This amount was previously limited to US$ 8,300.
This payment does not exclude the second phase, which constitutes the judicial proceedings to determine the damages caused to the victims, observes Adalberto Feliciano, executive director of the ABAG.
Feliciano is in favor of ratification, because he believes that the changes can be extended to domestic operations.
Translation: David Silberstein