In 2018, the Australian Government undertook a preliminary review of the Civil Aviation (Carrier’s Liability) Act 1959 (the Act), with the view to updating the Act and the associated Regulations.
In July 2018, the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities released a Discussion Paper titled “Civil Aviation Carrier’s Liability” for the purpose of gaining input from the aviation industry and associated stakeholders.
Due to a crowded legislative schedule in late 2018, the update of the Act was put on hold and in the interim, the Regulations are being updated with respect to liability limits and insurance obligations only. The Government intends to undertake an update of the Act after the updated Regulations are complete.
The Australian Government is proposing to increase the liability limits under the Act. These changes will come into force on 1 October 2019. The Australian Government recently issued an Exposure Draft of these Regulations. The most important changes are as follows:
- For the purposes of subsection 31(1) of the Act, the liability limit for claims in respect of passenger personal injury and death for Australian domestic air carriage is increasing from $725,000 AUD to $925,000 AUD.
- For the purposes of subsection 31(2) of the Act, the liability limit for claims in respect of destruction or loss of checked baggage, for Australian domestic air carriage, is increasing from $1,600 AUD to $3,000 AUD; and
- For the purposes of subsection 31(3) of the Act, the liability limit for claims in respect of destruction or loss of unchecked baggage, for Australian domestic air carriage, is increasing from $160 AUD to $300 AUD.
- For the purposes of subsection 41C(3)(aa) of the Act, the amount of personal injury indemnity insurance that an Australian air carrier must have in respect of each passenger, is increasing from 260,000 SDRs (approx. $519,676.96 AUD) to 480,000 SDRs (approx. $959,403.62 AUD).
The 2019 update of the Regulations increases the limits in line with inflationary changes. The above sections last saw amendment in 2012, so it is unsurprising to see the October 2019 update increasing to these levels.
The Exposure Draft can be viewed here.
This article was written by Matthew Brooks, Partner, Simon Liddy, Partner and Paul Vrazas, Law Graduate.
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