Commerce Committee Approves Extension of Aviation War Risk Insurance

November 17, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unanimously approved today the “War Risk Extension Act of 2005,” S. 1102, introduced by Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and co-sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman Conrad Burns (R-Mont.).

S. 1102 extends the Federal Government’s existing war risk insurance coverage of U.S. air carriers against any potential liability associated with acts of violence committed against commercial airplanes, such as terrorism, hijackings and sabotage. The bill provides coverage through August 31, 2008 and allows the Administration the option to continue the program until the end of that year.

The legislation also extends until December 31, 2008, the Secretary of Transportation’s authority to certify that an air carrier was the victim of a terrorist act and, as such, is not responsible for third party losses in excess of $100 million. The Federal Government assumes responsibility for any liability above such an amount.

By extending the war risk program, the bill ensures that no punitive damages may be awarded against an air carrier or the Federal Government arising out of such a terrorist act over the duration of the provision.

The bill now proceeds to the full Senate for its consideration.