Concorde crash verdict is quashed

An appeals court has overturned a manslaughter conviction against Continental Airlines over the crash of an Air France Concorde in July 2000 that killed 113 people. It ruled yesterday that mistakes by a Continental Airlines mechanic were not enough to make it legally responsible for the deaths.

The crash hastened the end for the luxury supersonic airliner, which was a commercial failure. The programme, jointly operated by Air France and British Airways, was taken out of service in 2003.

The Air France jet crashed into a hotel near Charles de Gaulle airport, outside Paris, soon after taking off, killing all 109 people aboard and four on the ground. Most of the victims were Germans heading to a cruise in the Caribbean.

Later that year a French court convicted Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics for the crash, and fined the carrier about €2m.

The court ruled that a metal strip which the mechanic had fitted on a Continental DC-10 fell on to the runway, puncturing a tyre on the Concorde. This sent bits of rubber into the fuel tanks, starting the fire that brought down the plane.