Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) of 1976 governs claims against defendants owned by foreign governments. The laws within this act can extend to foreign airlines, many of which are owned and operated by the countries in which they are incorporated.
Under FSIA, any entities that carry out commercial activities may be sued by a U.S. citizen but with certain restrictions:
- Plaintiffs are not entitled to a jury.
- Any litigation must follow the FSIA’s rules on service of process.
While it is possible to bring a claim against an airline owned by a foreign government, the FSIA may impact whether that airline can be subject to a suit in the U.S. based on the jurisdictional provisions of the Montreal Convention, specifically in those instances where jurisdiction is determined solely by the passenger’s residence.