Huxley v. Aquila Air Ltd.

In Carriage of Goods by Air on (Updated )

This was a fatal accident claim brought by the children of the deceased, Mr. Huxley, who died in the crash of a commercial aircraft operated by the Defendant, Aquila Air Ltd., on a flight from Nanaimo to Vancouver. The Defendant sought a determination by the Court that the Defendant’s liability was governed by the Federal Carriage By Air Act which would result in the application of statutory limits of liability. The Plaintiffs based their claims on provincial fatal accidents legislation which did not limit the Defendant’s liability.

The deceased, after arrival in Vancouver, was to continue on an American Airlines flight to St. Louis, Missouri. Two tickets had been issued to Mr. Huxley, one written on Canadian Airlines stock for two Aquila flights, one Nanaimo-Vancouver and the other a return flight seven days later. The other ticket was a United Airlines ticket from Vancouver to St. Louis and return via a number of stops. The deceased booked his flight from Vancouver to St. Louis return before he had decided how he was to travel to Vancouver from Nanaimo. One day after his flight to St. Louis was booked, he decided to fly Aquila Air to Vancouver. The sole purpose of Mr. Huxley’s trip to Vancouver was to board his flight to the U.S.

The Court held that the flight from Nanaimo to Vancouver was not the subject of international carriage as the term is used in the Schedule to the Carriage By Air Act (the Warsaw Convention as amended by the Hague Protocol). The carriage was not regarded as one undivided carriage by the parties. Aquila knew nothing of the United Air carriage and vice versa. The Court found the travel agent was an agent of both carriers for only limited purposes and the travel agent’s knowledge of both domestic and international travel could not be imparted to either carrier.