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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 19:16 GMT
Airbus's reliability record
An Airbus 300 similar to the plane that crashed
The Airbus 300-600 is usually a reliable aircraft making the crash of American Airlines flight 587 in New York all the more remarkable.

The twin-engined plane, which took off from JFK airport bound for the Dominican Republic, crashed into a residential area during good weather with clear skies.

Eye-witnesses have been reported as saying that an engine was seen falling from the plane before the crash.

The plane, which can carry 266 passengers when full, would have been capable of flying with only one engine. But if the reports of an engine falling off were confirmed, it would be an indication of a very serious structural failure.

Click here to see plane profiles

The popular Airbus is made by the European consortium Airbus Industrie, which says its aircraft are very reliable overall.

This particular model is an early version of the Airbus. American Airlines had 35 in service and there are 250 in operation around the world, an Airbus spokesman said.

He added that "take-off crashes" of this model were extremely rare.

"I don't recall us ever losing an engine in-flight," said David Velupillai.

But an American Airlines Airbus 300 did have a fire in one engine shortly after take-off on 9 July 1998.

The small fire took place on flight 574 from, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and no one was seriously hurt.

Previous Airbus disasters

  • August 2000: Gulf Air A320 crashed in Gulf off Bahrain
  • January 2000: 169 killed when A310 crashed off Ivory Coast.
  • February 1998: 197 killed when A300 crashed in Taiwan.
  • September 1997: 234 killed when A300 crashed in Indonesia.
  • July 1994: Seven killed when A330 crashed in Toulouse, France, when crew were testing simulated engine failure
  • April 1994: 259 killed when A300 crashed in Japan.
  • March 1994: 75 killed when A310 crashed in Siberia.
  • September 1992: 167 killed when A300 crashed in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • July 1992: 113 killed when A310 crashed in Kathmandu.
  • January 1992: 87 killed when A320 crashed in Strasbourg.
  • February 1990: 90 killed when A320 crashed in Bangalore.
  • June 1988: Eight killed when A320 crashed in Habersheim.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Simon Montague
"According to eye-witnesses the plane had problems at take-off"
Chairman of American Airlines
"It is an incredibly sad day"
David Learmount of Flight International magazine
"It has a good safety record"

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