IATA Comments on Thailand’s Ratification of Montreal Convention 1999

Thailand had recently ratified the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99). This brings the number of MC99 states to 127. In Asia, we are still urging Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam to urgently ratify MC99.

In his latest blog post, Alexandra de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, commented on Thailand’s ratification of MC99: “Implementing an international treaty is not an easy task. Aligning laws with the treaty’s provisions and passing them through parliament can take years. In the case of Thailand it was a seven year process. But law-makers persevered because they understood that MC99 is critical for Thailand’s aviation industry to reach its full potential. With Thailand set to rank among the world’s top ten aviation markets by 2032 that potential is significant. Already aviation supports 3.3 million jobs and $48 billion of economic activity in the Kingdom,”

First and foremost, MC99 is the global standard for an airline’s liability to its customers. Primarily, this modernizes and replaces the limits on liability set by the Warsaw Convention which was established in 1929 and last amended in 1975.

For passengers traveling internationally, MC99 means better protection and fairer compensation when a flight is delayed; when their baggage is lost, delayed or damaged; or in the very rare occasion when there is an accident causing injury or loss of life. And, as a global standard, MC99 gives passengers and airlines a common set of rules that bring simplicity and reduce the chances of long and complex litigation processes.

While not immediately apparent, MC99 will also help give a boost to trade. Goods shipped internationally require a lot of documentation. It’s necessary to know their value, content, place of origin and so on. And if they are shipped using rules dating back four decades all the documentation is paper-based.

Each year airlines carry goods with a total value of $7.2 trillion—about a third of world trade. MC99 sets the framework for those goods to be processed electronically. And that is a key element of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement which, when fully implemented, is expected to cut the cost of trade by 14% and boost exports by 3.5% annually.

Implementing an international treaty is not an easy task. Aligning laws with the treaty’s provisions and passing them through parliament can take years. In the case of Thailand it was a seven year process. But law-makers persevered because they understood that MC99 is critical for Thailand’s aviation industry to reach its full potential. With Thailand set to rank among the world’s top ten aviation markets by 2032 that potential is significant. Already aviation supports 3.3 million jobs and $48 billion of economic activity in the Kingdom.

With Thailand bringing MC99 states to 127, it is clear that there is momentum. As with all global standards, however, effectiveness increases with each new state that signs on. Thailand’s joining moves MC99 a big step forward, but we cannot yet say “job done”. Algeria, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Vietnam rank high on our wish list of states to complete MC99 ratification.

MC99 will never be top of mind when you travel. But it has a big impact in the efficiency of the global air transport network and the prosperity of the states that implement its provisions. So, welcome aboard Thailand! And we look forward to further states signing on.