MIAMI – With a decision revoking a previous Court ruling, the Paris Appellate Court has sent Air France (AF) and Airbus back to court to undergo a new sentence on charges of involuntary homicide connected with the Rio de Janeiro (GIG) to Paris (CDG) flight, AF447, crash.
French newspaper Le Figaro reports that the case against both AF and Airbus had been dismissed in a 2019 sentence that plunged victims’ families and pilots unions in distress as it appeared that the judgment was taking into account only the pilots’ responsibility. For these reasons, plaintiffs and the Attorney General’s Office brought the case before the Paris Appellate Court.
When the decision was announced, the few relatives of the victims present hugged each other in tears, relieved by the Court decision. On the other side, AF and Airbus attorneys Simon Ndiaye and Antoine Beauquier immediately announced they would take the case to the Supreme Court denouncing, according to them, an “unjustified decision in contradiction with the investigating judges who knew the case well.”
An AF Attorney stated, “Air France denies having committed a criminal fault that was the cause of this terrible accident”. AF, when asked to comment on the decision, stated “Air France takes note of the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal. It maintains that it did not commit any criminal fault at the origin of this accident, however tragic it may be, and reserves the right to appeal to the Supreme Court”.
The representative of a Flight AF447 victims association, Danièle Lamy, also commented on the decision by saying, “It is an immense satisfaction to have the feeling of having finally been heard by justice” but deplored that “it took twelve long years to get to this point, twelve years of unfailing determination, full of uncertainties, cumbersome and obscure procedures, discouragement but never resignation.”
About the AF447 Accident
The accident involving AF447 took place on June 1, 2009, when an Airbus A330, operating a flight from GIG to CDG, met unexpected issues while crossing the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone), also known as “the Pot au Noir”, a well known meteorological doldrum located on the Equator and over the Atlantic sea.
As it appears in the results of the investigation of the accident, the A330 stalled at a high altitude and power could not be recovered. They type crashed in the Atlantic sea, causing the death of 216 passengers and 12 crew members. The debris and black boxes were located two years later at a depth of approximately 4,000 meters.
The crash was at the crux of a continued debate amongst aviation experts lasting from 2012 to 2017, without coming to a satisfactory explanation of the accident. The Supreme Court will now judge and decide the fate of AF and Airbus.
Featured image: Air France Airbus 330-200 F-GZCH. Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways