2018-05-21 12:54:43 BdST
Ministry finalises draft of aviation safety act
The civil aviation ministry has finalised the draft of an aviation safety act in line with the Montreal Convention.
The draft of 'Aviation Safety Act-2018' will be sent to the law ministry by the next week for vetting," a senior official of the ministry said on Sunday.
Actually, it was scheduled to be sent to the law ministry one month back but due to some revisions recommended by the foreign ministry, the process has been delayed, said the official preferring not to be named.
The new act has been drafted in line with the Montreal Convention so that when it would be passed in parliament, the convention will be ratified, he explained.
The issue of ratifying the Montreal Convention came into the spotlight after the US-Bangla plane crashed in Kathmandu, killing 52 passengers on board.
Bangladesh signed the Montreal Convention in 2003, but has yet to ratify it. Due to the absence of proper laws to safeguard passengers, their baggage and cargo, both foreign and domestic airlines fail to ensure their security in Bangladesh. Cargo could be worth millions, but airlines operating in the country only pay $20 per kg for any loss or damage, sources said.
They also said that almost all countries across the globe follow the Montreal Convention 1999, but Bangladesh follows the Warsaw Convention, formulated in 1929.
Under the Montreal Convention, if any cargo is damaged or lost during transport, the airlines company has to pay the client for damages according to its market value. While the Warsaw Convention states that the company will only pay $20 for per kg of lost or damaged cargo.
Victims of US-Bangla plane crash are likely to receive a less amount in compensation than they are supposed to receive as both Nepal and Bangladesh have delayed adopting the Montreal Convention 1999, experts said earlier.
According to aviation law experts, the Montreal Convention is helpful for all airlines in terms of protection and obligation. It benefits them as well as the passengers.
Once the country ratifies the Montreal Convention, all the airlines companies are obliged to operate their services under the rules and regulations of the convention.
The Montreal Convention formally known as 'The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air' is a multilateral treaty adopted by a diplomatic meeting of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member states in 1999.
"The carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking," said the Montreal Convention.
The convention imposes a minimum liability of nearly $ 113,000 Special Drawing Rights, equivalent to $ 169,000, for each passenger.
In 1955, the Warsaw Convention was amended to limit airlines liability and the compensation for each passenger was set at $ 46,955 or about Tk 3.8 million.
Under the Warsaw Convention, the air carrier is not liable for passengers' damage if it can prove that it took all necessary measures to avoid the accident.
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