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Carrier Liability in Air Transport
Release time:2022/7/2
Air transportation is the activity of transferring passengers, luggage, cargo and mail between regions by using aircraft as a means of transportation. According to the definition of air transportation in the Warsaw Convention, air transportation refers to the general term for the free transportation of people, luggage or goods by means of aircraft as a means of transportation, for remuneration or for free transportation performed by aircraft. It is a legal act based on the air transport contract signed between the carrier and the passenger or cargo owner. On the basis of this contract, a series of corresponding rights and obligations are generated between the carrier and the counterparty of the air transport service. , the carrier''s liability is the carrier''s liability for tort damages borne by the air transport service counterparty based on the air transport contract.

1. Proposition of the carrier''s liability

Compared with other modes of transportation such as railways and highways, air transportation is a more risky mode of transportation. This is because during the flight, the aircraft is often affected by unpredictable reasons such as weather, mechanical or electronic equipment failures, pilot operation errors, and product design and manufacturing defects in the aircraft itself, resulting in unavoidable effects. The occurrence of flight accidents caused serious consequences of aircraft crash and death, thus causing great damage to the personal and property of the counterparty in the air transport service. For the passengers and cargo owners who have paid the corresponding consideration to the carrier and are in a relatively weak position during the entire transportation process, making them bear such losses is not in line with the fair and just value requirements pursued by the law. Therefore, as victims, the interests of passengers and cargo owners should be protected by law, and their losses should also be compensated accordingly. The fundamental purpose of the establishment of the carrier''s civil liability system is to maintain the balance of the interests between the subjects of the air transport contract. It makes the damaged carrier, passengers and cargo owners, through the form of property liability compensation for damages, to maintain the balance of interest. The relationship of interest is restored, bringing it back to a state of equilibrium.

2. Legal Provisions on Carrier Liability

The carrier''s liability for damages is established by the "Warsaw Convention" (the full name is the "Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air") signed in Warsaw, Poland on October 12, 1929. At present, 130 countries and regions have joined the Convention, and my country also joined on July 20, 1958. The most important contribution of the "Warsaw Convention" is that it unifies the rules and conditions of international air transport, and provides internationally uniform standards and conditions for the settlement of tort damages arising in the process of international air transport. The most successful example of the formulation of international uniform rules, the stipulation on the carrier''s liability for damages is the main substantive legal achievement of the convention. Liability. Article 17 of the Convention stipulates: "1. For loss arising from the death or bodily injury of a passenger, as long as the accident causing the death or injury occurred on board the aircraft or during any operation of embarking or disembarking the aircraft, the carrier shall shall be held liable." "2. For losses arising from the destruction, loss or damage of checked baggage, as long as the event causing the destruction, loss or damage occurred on the aircraft or during any period during which the checked baggage was under the control of the carrier The carrier shall be liable." Article 18 of the Convention stipulates: "For the loss caused by the destruction, loss or damage of the goods, as long as the event causing the loss occurred during the air transport, the carrier shall be liable. "Due to the authority and influence of the "Warsaw Convention" in international civil air transport, all countries have followed the provisions of the Convention in their domestic civil aviation laws and regulations, and made the carrier''s liability in line with the actual situation of their countries. For example, my country''s Civil Aviation Law stipulates in Article 124: "The carrier shall be liable for the personal injury or death of a passenger due to an incident that occurs on a civil aircraft or in the process of passengers getting on or off the civil aircraft." Article 124 Article 125 also makes similar provisions for luggage and cargo: "If the passenger''s carry-on items are destroyed, lost or damaged due to an incident that occurs on the civil aircraft or during the process of passenger boarding or disembarking the civil aircraft, the carriage shall be carried by the passenger. The carrier shall bear the responsibility." "The carrier shall be held responsible for the destruction, loss or damage of the goods due to an event that occurred during air transportation."

Due to the specific characteristics of air transport activities, the "Warsaw Convention" adopts the principle of limitation of liability on the issue of the carrier''s liability, that is, the carrier''s liability is limited to a maximum amount, and the carrier can only impose on passengers within this range. and the owner shall be liable for compensation. For example, the Warsaw Convention stipulates: "In the carriage of passengers, the carrier''s liability to each passenger is limited to 125,000 francs (approximately US$8,300). According to the law of the court where the case is received, compensation for damages may be made by instalments. , the total amount of compensation shall not exceed this limit. However, the passenger may agree on a higher limit of liability through a special agreement between the passenger and the carrier." "In checked luggage and cargo transportation, the carrier''s liability for luggage or cargo is Subject to a limit of 250 francs per kilogram, unless the passenger or the shipper, when delivering the package, specifically declares the benefit of delivery at the point of destination, and pays a surcharge if necessary, in which case the carrier shall reimburse the declaration unless the carrier certifies that the declared amount is higher than the actual interest of the passenger or the shipper at the time of delivery at the point of destination." "The liability of the carrier to each passenger shall be limited to 5,000 francs per passenger for items in the passenger''s own care." A series of air transport conventions following the Warsaw Convention have inherited the principle of limitation of liability for the carrier. The only difference between them and the Warsaw Convention is that they have adapted to the development and changes of social and economic conditions and have made an appropriate amount of compensation. Adjustment.