The cabinet yesterday approved in principle the draft of an act that would make airlines pay over Tk 1.35 crore to the family of any Bangladeshi killed in a crash. The Air Transport (The Montreal Convention, 1999) Act, 2019, will be aimed at ensuring rights of passengers flying to an international destination, officials said. Currently, the families receive about Tk 21.12 lakh or $25,000 in compensation under the Warsaw Convention 1955, of which Bangladesh is a signatory.
Yesterday’s approval came in a weekly meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office with Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The proposed law will ensure the rights of Bangladeshis traveling to international destinations, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told a press briefing at the secretariat. “The law has proposed 10 years’ jail and a fine of Tk 100 crore for airline owners in case they fail to give the compensation,” he added. The draft also proposed increasing the compensation for each kg of lost luggage to $70 from $25 and the rate will be $27 instead of $25 for each kg of lost cargo.
Although Bangladesh is a signatory to the Montreal Convention, 1999 (MC99), the country’s air passengers have not been getting compensations and other facilities as per the MC99, because Bangladesh had not enacted a law in this regard, said the cabinet secretary. In case of any civil aviation accidents, international carriers go by the Warsaw Convention and MC99. The MC99 establishes airline liability in case of death or injury to passengers, delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo.
It unifies all of the different international treaty regimes covering airline liability that had developed haphazardly since 1929. The MC99 was formulated to be a single, universal treaty to govern airline liability around the world. The MC99 gives consumers better protection and compensation and facilitates faster air cargo shipments.