Russia joins Montreal Convention

Both airlines and passengers are set to benefit from Russia joining the Montreal Convention The Russian Air Code will be harmonized with the international treaty (Leonid Faerberg / Transport-Photo.com)

Russian President Vadimir Putin has approved a bill under which the country will join the Montreal Convention. The document has been posted on the official legislative portal. The Russian Air Code will now be amended to expanding the domestic carriers’ scope of rights and obligations.

The bill says that Russia reserves the right to not observe some of the convention’s requirements. The changes will not apply to non-commercial international flights performed by Russian operators. The rules of passenger and cargo transportation in the interest of the Russian Defense Ministry will also stay unchanged.

Russia had been thinking of joining the Montreal Convention for several years. The current bill was passed by the country’s parliament on March 24. The government commented earlier that the move would imply more competitive advantages for airlines and more rights for travelers.

Dmitry Shamraev, IATA regional director for Russia and the CIS, told Russian Aviation Insider earlier that the convention “will allow Russia to leave the stone age in terms of cargo transportation, which is still based on paper document flows”.

“The Montreal Convention will remove the current barriers to realizing Russia’s potential as a transit country,” Shamraev added. “It is not important just to cargo carriers but also to those passenger operators whose business includes carrying cargo in aircraft holds.”

The advantages for passengers will include greater compensations for flight delays: instead of the current hourly rate of 25 rubles (44 cents at the current exchange rate) per hour, they will be entitled to a single compensation payment of up to 380,000 rubles ($6,779).

The Montreal Convention supersedes the Warsaw Convention of 1929. Adopted in 2003, it has been ratified by over 130 countries, including the former Soviet Union’s members Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Ukraine.

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