Volume 34 (2009) / Issue 6
Airlines have customarily not provided for arbitration in their cargo contracts of carriage (air waybill). The author explains the advantages of the arbitration of such claims (reducing legal costs, simplified procedure, relaxed evidence rules, an arbitrator knowledgeable about the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions and the industry, finality) and its disadvantages (significant arbitrator fees, limited appeal ability, no precedential value for future guidance.) The author argues that, overall, the arbitration of international air cargo claims before a single knowledgeable arbitrator will benefit all concerned (carriers and shippers) with significant cost savings. An enforceable arbitration provision can be included in a carrier’s conditions of carriage, incorporated by reference into the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Standard Air Waybill (Conditions of Contract). The author recommends arbitration for all air cargo claims, large and small, as beneficial to carriers and shippers.
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