Aviation Law: Airport Engineering Practice

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The US aviation industry is still the largest and most developed aviation industry today, and US #AviationLaw has a significant impact on the global aviation industry. This presentation shows the present status, regulations and the regulatory agencies involve in the US Aviation industry.

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By: Ronlusk1949 (54 month(s) ago)

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393SYS Airport Engineering Practice Lecture 13 Aviation Law :

1 393SYS Airport Engineering Practice Lecture 13 Aviation Law

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2 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Introduction Hardly any aspect of the aviation industry today is unaffected by regulations . We will consider first some of the administrative agencies most directly involved in the aviation industry – using a United States perspective. The idea is to distinguish them from each other according to their role. The ease with which civil aircraft cross national boarders have made the regulation and development of civil aviation a subject of continuing international concern. Regulation of the aviation industry has undergone significant changes since the 911 terrorist attack and subsequent terrorist activity.

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3 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies We will be using a US perspective on aviation law for two reasons – The US aviation industry is still, at present, the largest, most developed aviation industry in existence today, and US aviation law has a significant impact on the global aviation industry. Aviation law in the region local to Hong Kong includes several different legal jurisdictions - Hong Kong, Macao and China – and is therefore quite complex. This situation is made even more complex because of the colonial histories of both Hong Kong and Macao.

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4 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 resulted in the most sweeping reorganization of the US federal government in more than 50 years. The terrorist attacks demonstrated that civil airliners could be used a weapons of mass destruction. Transportation Security Administration ( www.tsa.gov ) Two months after the 911 attacks, the US Congress enacted the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 which affected all modes of transportation. It created the Transport Security Administration (TSA).

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5 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Previously, operators of airports were responsible for airport security. They relied on contractors with some oversight from the FAA. The new law brought the responsibility for day-today screening of airline passengers, baggage, and cargo under the new TSA. The TSA then went about hiring and training security personnel. Most of the new federal screeners were the same people previously employed by the contractors ! The TSA also took over responsibility for inspecting and testing security measures at airports. Congress also empowered the TSA to receive, assess, and distribute intelligence information related to transport security.

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6 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Transportation Security Oversight Board (TSOB) Initial investigations into the terrorist attacks revealed that various federal law enforcement agencies had clues regarding the possibility of an attack. If these different agencies had shared this information, the plan for the attack might have become apparent in time to prevent it happening. [Note that this is possible with proper coordination - in the UK, the plan to use liquid explosives to destroy multiple aircraft over the Atlantic ocean was discovered before it could be implemented.] The TSOB is a high level panel composed of the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Transportation, Defence, the Treasury, the Attorney General, the Director of the CIA - they are responsible for assuring the coordination and sharing of intelligence.

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7 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov) Next, Congress created the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 24 agencies were brought under the DHS to protect the nation from further terrorist attacks. DHS now screens foreign students applying to US flight schools (screening takes only 5 days !).

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8 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Department of Transportation (DOT) (www.dot.gov) The DOT has jurisdiction over various aspects of transportation, including – The Federal Aviation Administration The Federal Highway Administration National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Urban Mass Transport Association Maritime Administration The Head of DOR recently expressed concern that global progress in aviation and the aerospace industry challenge America’s long held dominance. To counter this threat, he announced a government initiative to design the Next Generation Air Transportation System – “ a cleaner, quieter system based on 21 st Century technology that will offer seamless security and added capacity to releave the congestion and secure America’s place as a global leader in aviation’s second century .” One goal of this initiative is to triple the capacity of the US aviation system over the next 15 to 20 years !

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9 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (www.faa.gov) Congress made the FAA the agency primarily responsible for the regulation of aviation safety in the US. The FAA’s activities cover a wide range – Regulation  Certification  Registration  Security Airport security has been transferred to the TSA but FAA ordered to improve flight deck security by requiring airlines to – strengthen flight deck doors and keep them locked develop guidance for training flight deck and cabin crews to deal with threats, and explore the use of video monitors in the cabin explore methods for preventing the disabling of the aircraft’s transponder in flight (as the 911 hijackers had done to make the tracking of the aircraft more difficult).

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10 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (www.faa.gov) The FAA’s activities cover a wide range – Cartography (aeronautical charts)  Education  Funding  Investigation  Operations (i.e. Air Traffic Control, Radio Aids to Navigation) National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ( www.ntsb.gov ) An independent agency whose primary responsibility is to – investigate transportation accidents determine the probable cause of the accident, and recommend measures that might prevent similar accidents in future

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11 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies INTERNATIONAL REGULATION International Civil Aviation Organization The ICAO is an agency of the United Nations. Formed in 1944 at the Chicago Conference which had two specific goals – Establishment of international technical standards for aircraft airworthiness certification, flight crew certification, communications, and radio aids to navigation, and Establishment of principles and procedures for the economic regulation of international civil aviation’s routes, fares, frequency and capacity. [Note : Although this was originally a goal of the ICAO, it failed to achieve this goal. The airlines formed their own trade association – IATA – to address these issues.]

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12 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies The delegates philosophy was expressed in the preamble to the resulting treaty – the Convention on International Civil Aviation: WHEREAS the development of international civil aviation can greatly help to create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world, yet its abuse can become a threat to the general security ; and WHEREAS it is desirable to avoid friction and to promote that cooperation between nations and peoples upon which the peace of the world depends; THEREFORE, the undersigned governments having agreed on certain principles and arrangements in order that international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner and that international air transport services may be established on the basis of equal opportunity and operated soundly and economically; Have accordingly concluded this Convention to that end.

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13 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies Today, at least 185 nations have signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The ICAO has therefore succeeded with its first goal. With regard to the second goal, there was at least some progress – at the 1944 congress, the United States proposed what was basically a global free market for airlines. The problem was that the United States was on the verge of being in a position to monopolize the international airline industry. Consequently, other countries in the world wanted to protect their own markets rather than expose them to free-market competition. Since then, the ICAO has helped with the movement towards “Open Skies” and is gradually moving to the even more liberal “Clear Skies” which will relax controls on airline ownership. The ICAO also has a central role in establishing internationally agreed standards with regard to airline operations, safety, crew training, aviation law, etc.

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14 13 Aviation Law : Regulatory Agencies International Air Transport Association (IATA) (www.iata.org) IATA operated initially as a cartel to divide up markets for international air transportation, and to fix prices on international air routes. However, these activities came into conflict with US anti-trust laws so IATA, eventually, had to abandon that function. Today, IATAs most important function is often seen to be its function as a “clearinghouse” for settling inter-airline revenue transactions between member airlines. Without this clearinghouse function, arranging travel requiring a change of airlines would be an unbelievably complicated nightmare, particularly because of currency differences and fluctuating exchange rates. IATA also works closely with ICAO on technical issues involving airline operations, safety and security.

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15 13 Aviation Law : Liability LEGAL LIABILITY AND AVIATION LAW Basic Principles of Liability The law is generally subdivided into administrative , civil , criminal, and common law. In the preceding slides, we have been looking at the main agencies of administrative regulation – laws and rules made by administrative agencies. Civil law may be sub-divided into tort law and contract law.

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16 13 Aviation Law : Liability

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17 13 Aviation Law : Liability Tort Law A tort is an act or omission that causes injury to another person by breach of a legal duty not arising out of a contract, and subjects the actor to liability for damages. When ever you read a news headline like “ Jury awards $480 million to 3 hurt in plane crash ”, you are almost certainly reading about a tort case. Torts may be further subdivided into two kinds – Intentional Torts Negligence

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18 13 Aviation Law : Liability Intentional Torts Intentional torts are all “acts”. Some intentional torts can also be crimes and may also be violations of Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). In such cases, the wrongdoer may not only be subject to a fine or imprisonment (criminal action) but can also be – ordered to pay compensation to the victim (civil tort action), and subject to certificate suspension by the FAA … all for the same thing !

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19 13 Aviation Law : Liability For example – criminal charges including 110 counts of murder and 110 counts of manslaughter (one for each person killed in an aircraft crash) were filed against SabreTech Inc., an airline maintenance contractor extensive civil litigation followed FAA action was taken against the company a federal grand jury charged SabreTech with several criminal violations of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

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20 13 Aviation Law : Liability Some other types of intentional torts that may arise in aviation – Battery – harmful or offensive contact with another person. Assault – attempted battery that missed. False Imprisonment – intentionally confining, restraining, or detaining another person against their will occurs most often in the aviation industry in debt- collection situations; e.g.: an airline owes some other company money a gasoline truck is positioned to block the aircraft’s departure the owner of the airline is physically dragged into the office of the other company

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21 13 Aviation Law : Liability Trespass – intentional invasion of someone else’s land . Occurs when aircraft land in off-airport locations or at airports that are not open to the public - without prior permission. Conversion – this is like trespass but it applies to personal property other than land – e.g. if you took someone’s airplane for a joy ride without their permission.

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22 13 Aviation Law : Liability Negligence Negligence may consist of either an act or an omission . Negligence is the most common form of tort involved in aircraft accident litigation. Negligence can be summarized simply as – you are responsible for the consequences of your actions ! Negligence means failing to do an act that a reasonably careful person would do to protect others from harm, or doing an act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances. The four elements of a negligence case are – A duty to be reasonably careful and A failure to be reasonably careful, which is the proximate cause of .. … injury to another person or their property

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23 13 Aviation Law : Liability DUTY An obligation to be reasonably careful to avoid harming others. This extends to anyone who might foreseably be injured by your neglect. FAILURE TO USE CARE A jury or a trial judge decides whether you were reasonably careful. They will rely upon the testimony of aviation expert witnesses. INJURY This usually means real physical injury or property damage. PROXIMATE CAUSE Your neglect must have actually caused the injury, at least by setting in motion a sequence of events that would not otherwise have occurred.

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24 13 Aviation Law : Liability Example of Proximate Cause A single engine aircraft has an engine stoppage. The aircraft is damaged attempting a forced landing. The occupants are seriously injured. An accident investigator finds out the time the aircraft took off, the fuel capacity of the aircraft and the rate of fuel consumption. The investigator suspects the aircraft ran out of fuel. The investigator checks for any remaining fuel at the scene of the accident – and finds none. Later, the investigator testifies to the NTSB. The NTSB determines the probable cause of the accident to be inadequate pre-flight planning by the pilot and failure to monitor his fuel supply. The injured passengers sue the pilot for negligence.

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25 13 Aviation Law : Liability Proof of Negligence The procedure at a trial is that the plaintiff (the person who claims to be injured) must first present evidence to prove each of the four elements of negligence to satisfy the burden of proof . Negligence Per Se (means negligence “as such”) Where the plaintiff can prove that the accident resulted from a violation of an FAR intended to prevent such accidents, the FAR violation also constitutes civil negligence as a matter of law. This is called negligence per se . Losing, or failing to defend, an FAA enforcement case arising out of an accident may also cause you to lose the civil suit !

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26 13 Aviation Law : Liability Strict Liability A person (or business) selling any product (including an aircraft or aircraft component) delivered in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the purchaser or an anticipated user, is strictly liable . In such a case, negligence need not be proved and the seller is liable for resulting injury to users and others even if the seller exercised all possible care in the manufacture, inspection, and sale of the product, and even if the seller had no contact with the injured person. The courts believe that the best way to make businesses exercise every possible effort to ensure safe products is to make them pay every time someone is injured by an unsafe product.

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27 13 Aviation Law : Liability This form of liability previously brought the light aircraft industry in the US to a halt because it was too easy to blame light aircraft crashes on a defective product. As a result, a new industry arose producing kit aircraft – 51% of the construction was competed by home builders –the home builders were then \considered to be responsible for the condition of the product rather than some aircraft manufacturer.

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28 13 Aviation Law : Liability Defenses Assume the plaintiff has “carried the burden” of proving negligence at a trial. They may have done this by – Proof of the four basic elements (slide 22), or Proving negligence per se , or Proving strict liability for a defective product. The burden then shifts to the defendant (i.e. “the ball is now in the defendant’s court”). The defendant must then present evidence to refute the plaintiff’s proof and support any legal defenses they are claiming.

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29 13 Aviation Law : Liability The defenses which the defendant might use include – SUDDEN EMERGENCY e.g. the engine of a single-engine aircraft quits after take-off at 50 feet over a lake at the end of the runway. The judge or jury could take into account the sudden emergency in deciding on the reasonableness or the pilot’s actions. This only applies, however, if the no negligence was involved – e.g. as might be the case if the engine stopped because the pilot did not do a proper pre-flight inspection (includes checking fuel levels).

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30 13 Aviation Law : Liability ASSUMPTION OF RISK If the injured person can be proved to have – known and understood the scope, nature, and extent of the risk involved in a flight and to have voluntarily and freely chosen to accept that risk, the assumption of risk doctrine may relieve the defendant of any legal responsibility. [See tutorial example (P94)]

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31 13 Aviation Law : Liability CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE If it can be proved that the plaintiff’s negligence was also a proximate cause of the accident, this may reduce the extent of the defendant’s liability, or relieve the defendant of all liability. This varies according to the jurisdiction. For example, in some places, if the accident was even slightly the fault of the person injured, that person is not entitled to any compensation, no matter how negligent someone else may have been. STATUTES of LIMITATION Statutes of limitation impose time limits on how long a person has after an injury to file a suit (or be forever barred from bringing legal action).

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32 13 Aviation Law : Liability Litigation Procedures (US) The first notice you get that you are about to be sued comes in the form of a Summons and Complaint . When that is received, it is time to contact your own lawyer immediately. Law suits are like ball games – if you don’t show up on time, you lose by default. Your lawyer will typically have something like 20 days to file a (well-considered) Answer with the court. Before the trial, your lawyer will have the opportunity to find out what the other sides case is all about through discovery .

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33 13 Aviation Law : Liability Discovery includes – written interogatories (questions to be answered in writing) depositions (sworn testimony by prospective witnesses) examination of documents and other physical evidence (by a motion to produce ) Discovery, and litigation in general, is often very expensive. For this reason, many people and business are now turning to alternative methods of dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation . The best way to prevent litigation, however, is through prevention – strict adherence to the FARs, rigorous training programmes, thorough inspection and maintenance, and a culture of care.

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34 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability AIRLINE LIABILITY The legal relationship between airlines and international passengers is governed by a special body of law. For many years, airline liability to international passengers was defined in an agreement known as the Warsaw Convention . However, this body of law now includes a new international treaty known as the Montreal Convention which is rapidly updating the old Warsaw Convention. These conventions relate to – the responsibility of airlines and the use of airline tariffs as a risk management tool, and common mistakes that can deprive an airline of the protection offered by international.

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35 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability Airline Liability to Domestic Passengers When a domestic passenger is injured, the first question that must be addressed is whether the airline was acting as a common carrier . An operator is considered a common carrier if it offers to the public a service in which it will – carry for hire … … at a uniform tariff (price) … all persons … applying (or cargo), as long as there remains unused capacity in the aircraft. These characteristics distinguish common carrier operations from private or contract flying.

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36 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability For the purposes of distinguishing between common carriage and contract carriage, the important question is whether the price paid for the ticket, for a given class of travel, is a standard price or a negotiated price. For example, if a passenger paid a listed airline fare of, say, $4,000, then that would be a common carrier transaction. On the other hand, if the passenger was a member of a sports team which had negotiated a special price as a group, then that would be contract carriage. The reason this is important is that, under common law, common carriers have been required to exercise the greatest degree of human care and foresight possible to ensure passenger safety – i.e. there exists a greater obligation than with contract carriage ! [Tutorial – P150]

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37 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability Liability for International Passengers The legal relationship between airlines and international passengers began with an international treaty generally known as the Warsaw Convention which was agreed in 1929 (!). The main objective of this treaty was to protect and promote the infant airline industry that existed in 1929 – Protect international airlines from catastrophic loss in the event of a crash. Promote airline safety. Promote the availability of liability insurance to international airlines. Provide uniformity of terms and conditions of transportation by air, ship, rail, bus, etc.) Provide a framework of internationally uniform law to govern international airline crashes.

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38 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability The problem is that some of these objectives work against each other. For example, strict liability is applied against manufacturers of defective products to promote safety by making the airline strictly liable if a passenger is injured. But this conflicts with – the objective of protecting international airlines from potentially catastrophic losses, and promoting the availability of liability insurance (because, with insurance, airlines are protected from heavy fines, etc.) In practice, a compromise was reached between the competing interests of the passengers and the airlines -

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39 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability A framework of internationally uniform law was established. This standardized claims and procedures in the event of international airline crashes. These procedures provide internationally uniform answers to following questions – In what nation’s courts may a lawsuit arising out of the crash be brought ? What nation’s law governs the crash ? When must the lawsuit be filed or forever barred ? The treaty allowed an international passenger to choose between four possible nations in which to bring a lawsuit for injury :

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40 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability The nation of domicile of the airline. The nation in which the airline has its principal place of business. The nation in which the ticket was bought from the airline or travel agent. The nation that is the passenger’s destination. The treaty contains a globally applicable statute of limitations which provides that a lawsuit must be brought, if at all, within two years from the date of the conclusion of the passengers trip, or its intended conclusion.

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41 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability Uniformity of terms and conditions The provision of the treaty standardized the documents of transport – the passenger’s ticket and, for cargo, the air waybill … in formats and contents similar to those already in widespread use for transportation by ship, truck and rail. 3. In an effort to promote safety , the treaty imposes strict liability on international airlines for passenger injury or death , and substantially limits defences that would otherwise be available to international airlines under the common law against claims for the loss or destruction of cargo.

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42 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability This is the most controversial provision : To – counterbalance strict liability and protect international airlines from catastrophic loss in the event of a crash, and promote the availability of liability insurance to international airlines, … the treaty limited the dollar amount of the airline’s liability for injury or death of a passenger to US$8,300 and, for the loss or destruction of cargo, to US$16.50 per kilogram. Even in 1929, US$8,300 was a shockingly cheap price for killing someone. Years of strong opposition followed in the United States. By 1965 the United States declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Convention.

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43 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability International airlines serving the United States would have to sign a contract with the US government raising the limits of liability for injury or death to US$75,000. The Montreal Convention of 1999 – Modernizing Warsaw In May 1999, 118 nations and 11 international organizations gathered in Montreal (home of the ICAO). After three weeks of discussion a new treaty emerged – “ A Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air ” – generally referred to as the “ Montreal Convention of 1999” . According to the provisions of this treaty, it would not take effect until 30 nations had ratified it. [ratify means to confirm] This finally occurred in September of 2003.

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44 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability The United states was the 30 th ratifying nation. As in the past, many nations waited for ratification by the United States before making a ratification decision. Now that the US has ratified the treaty, ratifications are flowing quickly from other nations. A few of the most important changes introduced with the Montreal Convention include – Airlines are strictly liable for passenger injury or death for the first ~ US$140,000 (this value is continuously adjusted for inflation). There is no limit on damages beyond this amount unless the airline can prove itself free from any fault causing the accident. Airlines are liable for delaying passengers and their baggage, to a limit of about US$6,000 per passenger for passenger delay and US$1,400 per passenger for luggage delay. These limits may be exceeded if the passenger proves the delay was the airlines fault. [See reference text for more details].

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45 References : Practical Aviation Law by J. Scott Hamilton, Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc., 2007, 4 th Edition, ISBN 1-56027-632-0, 978-1-56027-632-6. 13 Aviation Law : Airline Liability

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46 13 Summary Introduction Federal Administrative Agencies Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Transportation Security Oversight Board (TSOB) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) International Regulation International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) International Air Transport Association (IATA) Legal Liability and Aviation Law Basic Principles of Liability Litigation Procedures (US) Airline Liabilty Domestic Passengers  International Passengers  The Montreal Convention of 1999

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47 13 What you need to know for the exam Could you briefly identify the purpose of the TSA, TSOB, NTSB or FAA ? In legal terms, what do “ negligence ”, “ negligence per se ”, “ strict liability ” and “ proximate cause ” mean ? What are the three means by which a plaintiff can prove negligence at a trial ? What do the terms “ Assumption of Risk ”, “ Contributory Negligence ” and “ Statutes of Limitation ” mean ? What liabilities do airlines have to domestic passengers with regard to the terms “ common carrier ” and “ contract carriage ” ? Which two provisions of the Warsaw Convention conflict with the application of “strict liability” ?

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