Abstract: Many things happen on-board cruise liners and aircraft that can be traced to liability of the carrier. In maritime transport, there have been reports of outbreaks of food poisoning, Legionnaires’ disease, injuries, sexual assault and even murder on-board cruise ships. An accident which caught the attention of the world was when 32 people died after the Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground with more than 4,000 passengers and crew on 13 January 2012, shortly after leaving the Italian port of Civitavecchia. Death or injury to passengers on-board ships could result in personal injury actions or wrongful death claims entitling them to substantial compensation for expenses and compensation. Cases of death and injury in air transport have been recorded in greater numbers, mainly because air transport carries more passengers across the globe. Some notable instances are the disappearance of Flight MH 370 and the shooting down of fl ight MH 17 in March and July 2014, respectively, both involving Boeing 777 aircraft carrying a large number of passengers. Furthermore, in air transport, there have been instances of injury caused by turbulence and other risks endemic to air travel, but there is a compensatory scheme applicable through multilateral treaties that give recourse to passengers and their dependents in the form of compensation, in a manner similar to compensation applicable to the liability regime in maritime transport. As this article discusses, the nuances of basic principles of liability and protection of the two types of carriers that exonerate them in certain circumstances are similar. But there are also glaring differences which will be highlighted in this article, which bring to bear the basic fact that for the most part, principles of liability in air law have upended the legal philosophy that applies on terra fi rma and to surface transport. From the fundamental principle of presumption of liability which shows a stark difference between the two modes of transport to cursus curiae which refl ects that maritime law accords generally with principles of common law tort liability as against air transport law which approaches liability from a different angle, the principles of commonality and differences between these two types of transport can be attenuated.
Keywords: negligence; wilful misconduct; liability of cruise lines; liability of air carriers; passenger rights; maritime law; air law; Athens Convention; Warsaw Convention; Montreal Convention
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