Liability of air carriers for passengers and their baggage
Regulation in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 2027/97 of the Council on the air carrier liability in the event of accidents as amended by Regulation (EC) No. 889/2002 of the European Parliament and Council
This information notice summarises the liability rules applied by Community air carriers as required by Community legislation and the Montreal Convention.
Compensation in the case of death or injury
There are no financial limits to the liability for passenger injury or death. For damages up to SDR 128,821(as of 27/12/2019 around EUR 160,309.80) the air carrier cannot contest claims for compensation. Above that amount, the air carrier can defend itself against a claim by proving that it was not negligent or otherwise at fault.
If a passenger is killed or injured, the air carrier must make an advance payment, to cover immediate economic needs, within 15 days from the identification of the person entitled to compensation. In the event of death, this advance payment shall not be less than SDR 16,000 (as of 04/01/2010 around EUR 17,424).
The air carrier is liable for damage caused by delay in the carriage of passengers, unless it has taken all reasonable measures to avoid the damage or it was impossible to take such measures. The liability for passenger delay is limited to SDR 5,346 (around EUR 6,652.77 as of 27/12/2019).
In case of baggage delay, the air carrier is liable for damage unless it took all reasonable measures to avoid the damage or it was impossible to take such measures. The liability for passenger delay is limited to SDR 1,288 (around EUR 1,602.84 as of 27/12/2019).
Destruction, loss or damage of baggage
The air carrier is liable for destruction, loss or damage to baggage up to SDR 1,288 (around EUR 1,602.84 as of 27/12/2019).
In the case of checked baggage, liability exists regardless of fault, provided that the baggage was not previously damaged. In the case of unchecked baggage, the air carrier is only liable for culpable conduct.
Higher liability limits for baggage
A passenger can benefit from a higher liability limit by making a special declaration at the latest at check-in and by paying a supplementary fee.
For technical reasons, Austrian is currently only able to accept a valuables declaration at least 48 hours before departure.
Complaints on baggage
If the baggage is damaged, delayed, lost or destroyed, the passenger must write and complain to the air carrier as soon as possible. In the event of damage to checked baggage, the passenger must make a written complaint within seven days, and in the case of delayed baggage within 21 days, in both cases from the date on which the baggage was placed at the passenger’s disposal.
Liability of contracting and actual carriers
If the air carrier actually performing the flight is not the same as the contracting air carrier, the passenger has the right to address a complaint or to make a claim for damages against either. If the name or code of an air carrier is indicated on the ticket, that air carrier is the contracting air carrier.
Time limits for filing a claim
Any action in court to claim damages must be brought within two years from the date of arrival of the aircraft or the date on which the aircraft should have arrived.
Basis for the information
The basis for the rules described above is the Montreal Convention of 28 May 1999, which is implemented in the Community by Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 (as amended by Regulation (EC) No 889/2002) and national legislation of the Member States.
This summary or notice cannot be used as a basis for a claim for compensation, nor to interpret the provisions of this Regulation or the Montreal Convention.