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Wednesday, February 19, 2020 05:41:43 PM
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Compensation A Fair Package For Air Passengers

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Md. Mamonor Rashid :
The relationships between international trade and the transport network are evident.  A well-organized transport arrangement can advance trade and larger volume of trade can, in turn, create demand for investment in the transport network.  It is now broadly acknowledged that efficiency in the transport sector has major spillover effects on the competitiveness of both goods and services.  The development of air transport services is crucial for the sustainable development of trade and tourism.  This sector acts as an economic catalyst by opening up new market opportunities, moving products and services with speed and efficiency. The quality of the transport network has direct implications for the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Aircraft business is more preferable for consumer than other transportation system. The most reason for consumer is time efficiency. Thus, aircraft transportation in Bangladesh is growing every year.  Competition between aircraft enterprises and high demand must have serious concern from the enterprises particularly safety and security because they constitute consumer rights and must be protected.   
Today every country is challenged to improve their science and technology. The mastery of science and technology in every sector will affect to increase complex in all fields, such as in aviation sector. Time efficiency and technology advancement in aircraft transportation will give benefit to enterprise aviations earnings.  Benefit are the first aim for the enterprises in Bangladesh, however the protection for rights such as safety and security must not be abandoned.  
These rights, safety and security factors, are compulsory for every enterprises in all services. The consumers principally are people who must have protection from the law. In the past, the requirement of large-scale investment, long gestation periods, uncertain returns, associated externalities together with social objectives such as consumer protection, welfare and equity have resulted monopoly in transport services. This picture is rapidly changing with globalization and the liberalization of national economies.  Increased commercialization and growth of international trade has led to considerable pressure on the operating environment of the existing transport infrastructure, forcing it to adapt new, improved and more reliable technology and law.  
The Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) establishes airline liability in case of death or injury to passengers, delay, damage or loss of baggage and cargo. It unifies all of the different international treaty regimes covering airline liability that had developed haphazardly since 1929. The MC99 was formulated to be a single, universal treaty to govern airline liability around the world. The MC99 gives consumers better protection and compensation and facilitates faster air cargo shipments. Although Bangladesh is a signatory to the Montreal Convention which deals with the passengers' rights and compensation, but it was not transformed into any law in Bangladesh. Since Bangladesh has no law over the convention, the people of Bangladesh do not get benefits as prescribed in the convention. The passengers who were killed and injured in the plane crash in Nepal in 2017 got negligible compensation for not having the proper laws in Bangladesh.
However, the Cabinet of the Government has approved the draft of 'The Air Transport (The Montreal Convention, 1999) Bill, 2020' in accordance with 'The Montreal Convention, 1999' to safeguard air passengers. If the proposed law is passed, each of the air passengers will get US$ 138,544 for death or injuries caused by any air accident. The aircraft company will have to pay US$ 5,734 as compensation to a passenger due to flight delay in line with the proposed law which was only US$ 20 in the existing law. Due to damage or loss of baggage and cargo of a passenger, the flight carriers must to pay US$ 1,381 and US$ 24 for per kilogram respectively in the draft law which is only US$ 20 now.
The law will be applicable for death, damage or loss and, delay even in the case of domestic air transportation. However, the government should have to make the proposed law applicable by formulating necessary rules.

(Md. Mamonor Rashid, advocate and legal researcher at CM&A LCP; email: mamon_rashid@live.com)

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