Australia Domestic Carriage By Air – New Limits to Mandatory Insurance Levels for Carriers

Following on from preliminary reviews of the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959 undertaken by the Australian Government in 2018, new mandatory levels of liability insurance, originally proposed to be implemented effective from 1 October 2019 have now been enacted.

The Aviation Legislation Amendment (Liability and Insurance) Act 2020, passed by parliament late last year, came into effect on Thursday 17 June 2021.  The Act amends the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959, which is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) to:

  • increase the cap on carriers’ liability for death or bodily injury of passengers on domestic flights, as well as the corresponding level of insurance required, to reflect the rate of inflation (from AU$725,000 to AU$925,000)
  • increase the cap on carriers’ liability for death or bodily injury of passengers on international flights from 260,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to 480,000 SDRs (currently approximately AU$975,000)
  • increase the liability limit for the destruction or loss of registered baggage (from AU$900 to Au$3,000) and non-registered baggage (from Au$90 to AU$300)
  • enable the quantum of mandatory insurance to be increased by regulation
  • clarify that carriers, and servants and agents of the carrier, share the same scope of liability
  • establish a mechanism to expand the type of risks that carriers are required to insure against, to potentially include ‘war risks’, noting this change would be subject to consideration and consultation prior to any action being undertaken.

Should you have any questions in relation to the new legislation and limitation of liability amendments, please do not hesitate to contact the Aerosure team.