The Russian Ministry of Transport has introduced a draft law on accession of Russia to the Montreal Convention of 28 May 1999, in connection with which compensation to airline passengers in Russia may increase significantly. The law is expected to be adopted in the first half of 2014, according to the document, which was published on Monday, AviaPort reports.

The period of public debate is 15 days (starting on January 13). According to the convention, compensation to injured passengers or compensation for passengers killed may reach RUB 4.8 million (USD 144,500) instead of the current maximum of RUB 2 million (USD 60,200) in Russia. For delays in delivering passengers, a carrier will be liable to pay damages in an amount not exceeding USD 6,700.

For loss or delay in delivering baggage or cargo, the fine payable is up to 25% of the minimum wage but not more than 50% of the value of the baggage of cargo. For loss of baggage with undeclared value, an airline company will pay up to RUB 800 per kilogram but not more than RUB 48,000 (USD 1,445). Currently, under the Air Code, the compensation for each hour of delay is much lower at RUB 25, but not more than 50% of the price of a ticket.

Under the new version of the draft law, a carrier will be liable only if an incident occurs on board an aircraft or during embarking or disembarking operations. Currently, airline companies are responsible from the moment a passenger undergoes pre-flight inspection until he leaves the airport.

"It would be desirable to adopt the document ahead of the Olympic Games in Sochi. It involves [aligning] Russian law with the provisions of the Convention,” said Vitaly Bordunov, an expert with ICAO and the Transport Committee of the Russian State Duma.

"Until now, our country is party to the Warsaw Convention of 1929 while most countries in Europe and the United States are party to the Montreal Convention. Foreign guests will specifically expect its implementation in the case of a force majeure,” explains Bordunov. However, he doubts that officials will have enough time to approve everything before the Olympics.