The adoption of the draft laws will make it possible to introduce into Russian laws the legal system for international carriage by air established under the Montreal Convention and provide a competitive environment for air carriers and consumers of their services. Under the Montreal Convention, electronic means of recording, storing and processing documents of carriage are introduced for all international carriage by air. The norms of the Air Code are brought in line with the Montreal Convention. In particular, the timeframe for the carriage of passengers by air is defined as the period of their presence on board the aircraft, as well as the period of embarkation and disembarkation. The drafts specify the deadlines for submitting compensation claims for damage to (destruction, loss of) baggage, cargo, or postal items.
The draft Federal Law on the Russian Federation’s Accession to the Montreal Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (hereinafter referred to as Draft Law 1) and the draft Federal Law on Introducing Amendments to the Air Code of the Russian Federation in connection with Russia’s Accession to the Montreal Convention (hereinafter referred to as Draft Law 2) were prepared by the Foreign Ministry and the Transport Ministry in keeping with the Transport System Development state programme (approved by Government Directive 319 of 15 April 2014).
Two legal systems of international carriage by air are used in international civil aviation.
The first was established by a collection of acts based on the provisions of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, which was adopted in Warsaw on 12 October 1929 and came to be known as the Warsaw System. The Russian Federation as successor to the USSR is party to the Warsaw System.
The second system was established under the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air of 28 May 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the Montreal Convention). The Montreal Convention is a revised version of documents pertaining to the Warsaw System, taking into account all changes related to technological progress and legal relations in the sphere of civil aviation codified in one international treaty.
Under the Montreal Convention, electronic means of recording, storing and processing documents of carriage have been introduced. According to the International Air Transport Association, the use of electronic documents has saved the world air cargo transport industry a total of up to $5 billion a year.
At present, over 130 states are party to the Montreal Convention.
The Montreal Convention expands the scope and size of carrier liability to passengers for damages caused in the process of carriage by air.
To provide the legal grounds to take advantage of modern means of electronic support for carriage by air, Draft Law 1 envisions Russia’s accession to the Montreal Convention with a number of provisos.
Russia’s accession to the Montreal Convention requires amendments to the Air Code of the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as the Code). These changes are provided under Draft Law 2.
Under the Montreal Convention, instead of a paper air waybill, any other means preserving a record of carriage may be used. In this connection, electronic means of recording, storing and processing documents of carriage are used in international carriage by air. In this case, the carrier, at the request of the consignor, issues a cargo receipt that makes it possible to identify the consignment and secure access to electronic information about the consignment.
Provisions of the Code allow for electronic processing of documents but only for the carriage of passengers (tickets, baggage receipts). Article 105 of the Code is amended to allow waybills and mail invoices, as well as other documents used in providing cargo and mail carriage services by air, to be processed in the form of an electronic document of carriage.
To ensure compliance with Article 17 of the Montreal Convention, whereby the carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking, Paragraph 2 of Article 117 of the Code is amended to define the timeframe of passenger carriage as the period of his presence on board the aircraft, as well as the period of embarkation and disembarkation.
Amendments to Article 127 of the Code bring the timeframe for making a complaint to the carrier or submitting a claim for compensation in case baggage, cargo or mail is destroyed, lost or damaged in line with the provisions of Articles 13, 17, and 31 of the Montreal Convention.
Amendments to Article 128 of the Code will ensure the application of the norms of the Montreal Convention relating to calculating the period of limitation of actions.
The adoption of the draft laws will make it possible to introduce into Russian laws the legal system for international carriage by air established under the Montreal Convention and provide a competitive environment for air carriers and consumers of their services.
The draft laws were considered and approved at a meeting of the Russian Government on 9 November 2016.