On March 8, 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with 239 passengers and crew, disappeared. The still missing aircraft is now presumed to have crashed with no survivors. The press sought out answers to questions involving private international aviation liability, and ALG attorney Robert Hedrick had the answers. In the weeks following the accident, Mr. Hedrick was interviewed on radio, television, and newspaper, including the following: BBC-UK, BBC-Australia, Radio New Zealand, China Daily, Bloomberg News, China Central Television – CCTV America, and MSNBC – The Reid Report. On March 12, 2014 the China Daily front page stated:
“Even if Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is never found, the rights of the passengers on board will not remain a mystery,” according to Robert Hedrick, an aviation accident attorney at Aviation Law Group. If the aircraft or wreckage of 370 is never found, will the passenger’s families be able to recover for their loss? If so, who will bear responsibility? “The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty signed by more than 100 countries including the US. The Convention controls ticketed international travel involving signatory countries,” Hedrick said. “Malaysia signed the Montreal Convention in 2008, and China signed in 2005. “Passengers that are ticketed to travel between the two countries are therefore ordinarily subject to the Convention. “The disappearance of an aircraft is an ‘accident’ under the Montreal Convention. Under … the Convention, Malaysian Airlines is automatically (strictly) liable for damage sustained by passengers up to … approximately $155,000. “For amounts in excess of that, unless Malaysia Airlines can prove that the disappearance was not due to its negligence, or was solely the responsibility of a third party, it will face exposure for full damages to each passenger. “With the missing aircraft, that burden will likely be impossible to meet,” Hedrick said.
Robert F. Hedrick spoke as an expert on international aviation law live on Bloomberg News on March 24, 2014.
His interview is available below:
Mr. Hedrick spoke on international liability under the Montreal Convention as well as the likelihood of recovery for passengers on the flight. Mr. Hedrick is always available for discussion of international law issues. He can be reached at (206) 464-1166.