BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Concorde flight ban remains
Concorde debris
Concorde engine under wraps as the inquiry goes on
The French Transport Ministry has said that Air France's fleet of Concorde jets must stay grounded for the time being, after last week's fatal crash in which 113 people died.


It is... not yet possible to answer questions which we think are essential before we can make the recommendations which must precede a resumption of flights

Gilles Ricono
After a meeting of crash investigators and aviation experts in Paris, senior ministry official Gilles Ricono said the technical investigation into the crash was going quickly, but not enough was yet known about the causes of the accident to allow new safety measures to be put in place for Air France's five remaining supersonic jets.

The panel of experts - including representatives of Air France and the aviation authorities - are seeking to establish the chain of events that led to the 25 July crash.

Flight AF4590 ploughed into a hotel in the town of Gonesse on the outskirts of Paris, just minutes after taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport.

All 109 people on board the plane were killed, as well as four people on the ground.

Upgrades

France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) is expecting to release its preliminary report into the crash at the end of August. Ministry officials have said the flight ban could remain in place until then.

Crash site
The plane crashed into the hotel just minutes after take-off
Officials are reported to favour upgrading checks on tyres before take-off, improved cockpit instrumentation to detect tyre failure, and more frequent runway inspections.

Investigators have already said that they know that one, and possibly two, tyres burst, that there was an intense fire caused by a major fuel leak, and that the flight crew could not retract the landing gear and had problems with two of the four engines.

However the Transport Ministry said it was still not clear what exactly went wrong and in what order.

Deflectors

Investigators confirmed a report in the newspaper USA Today on Thursday which said that part of the plane's undercarriage designed to deflect spray on wet runways had been found on the tarmac after the crash.

BEA head Paul-Louis Arsanian
BEA's Paul-Louis Arsanian said the deflector issue was just one part of the inquiry
The newspaper said investigators were examining whether the deflector flew off and punctured a fuel tank, sparking the massive fire that trailed from the plane as it took off.

However BEA head Paul-Louis Arsanian appeared to play down the reports.

"I don't know why it is suddenly such a scoop," he said. "It is not THE element of the inquiry. It is one of the elements of the inquiry," he said.

USA Today said the deflector had been implicated in a fuel tank leak in 1993 when the part flew off after a tyre exploded on a British Airways Concorde, puncturing a tank.

The newspaper said that BA had later modified its Concordes to prevent the part from coming loose, but it was unclear from the reports whether Air France had modified its own fleet.

Air France declined to comment.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash

INTERACTIVE GUIDE

TALKING POINT

FORUM

FROM THE ARCHIVE

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

01 Aug 00 | Europe
French Concordes stay grounded
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories