Concorde verdict 'absurd': Continental statement

6th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Continental Airlines criticised Monday's "absurd" verdict by a French court which fined the carrier over the 2000 Concorde crash in which 113 people died, and confirmed it would appeal.

The US airline said the court ruling was aimed at shifting blame away from Air France and French aviation authorities.

"We strongly disagree with the court's verdict regarding Continental Airlines and John Taylor and will of course appeal this absurd finding," a spokesman for the airline said in a statement.

The court fined the airline 200,000 euros and gave Continental employee John Taylor a 15-month suspended jail sentence for having incorrectly manufactured and installed a piece of metal that fell from a Continental DC-10.

The titanium strip left on the runway of Paris Charles de Gaulle airport later shredded the supersonic jet's tyre, which led to a fire in the fuel tank.

"Portraying the metal strip as the cause of the accident and Continental and one of its employees as the sole guilty parties shows the determination of the French authorities to shift attention and blame away from Air France, which was government-owned at the time and operated and maintained the aircraft, as well as from the French authorities responsible for the Concorde's airworthiness and safety," it said.

"To find that any crime was committed in this tragic accident is not supported either by the evidence at trial or by aviation authorities and experts around the world."

© 2010 AFP

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