Air France And Airbus Face Manslaughter Charges For Deadly 2009 Crash

Air France and Airbus are looking likely to have to stand trial for the crash of an aircraft…

Air France And Airbus Face Manslaughter Charges For Deadly 2009 Crash

Air France and Airbus are looking likely to have to stand trial for the crash of an aircraft that took place over 10 years ago. Air France flight 447, operated by an Airbus A330, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1st, 2009. A French appeals court has today overturned a previous decision not to press charges on the planemaker or the airline.

Air France and Airbus will face charges over the crash in 2009. Photo: Getty Images

Involuntary manslaughter

The crash of Air France 447 was the deadliest in the history of the airline. 216 passengers and 12 crew members lost their lives after the Airbus A330 stalled in a thunderstorm and crashed into the ocean. Subsequent investigations blamed pilot errors, but also highlighted an issue with faulty speed monitoring equipment.

Following the crash, the Public Prosecutors Office had called for a manslaughter trial against Air France, alleging that the airline did not provide sufficient information to its pilots on the procedures to be followed. It cited several incidents of a similar nature that had occurred in the months preceding the crash of AF 447.

However, in September 2019, all charges were dropped. At the time, the investigating judges said, as reported by the Financial Times, that,

“[This] accident is evidently due to a conjunction of elements that had never occurred before, and thus highlighted dangers that could not have been perceived before this accident”.

Air France 447
It took two years to recover the ‘black box’ from the crash site. Photo: Getty Images

However, the association representing the relatives of the victims, ‘Association entraide et solidarité vol AF447’, appealed the judgment. Today, the Court of Appeal of Paris has overturned the 2019 decision, and has ordered that Air France and planemaker Airbus be tried for involuntary manslaughter in relation to the accident.

Danièle Lamy, president of the Association entraide et solidarité vol AF447, told France 24 that,

“It is an immense satisfaction to have the feeling of having finally been heard by the courts.”

Iced Pitot tubes

Following investigations, the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) cause of the crash of Air France flight 447 has been attributed to a combination of factors. The main issue is believed to have been faulty readings from the Pitot sensors, which had become iced up during the flight. The report states that one of the causes was likely,

“Temporary inconsistency between the measured airspeeds, likely following the obstruction of the Pitot probes by ice crystals that led in particular to autopilot disconnection and a reconfiguration to alternate law.”

Air France 447
The recovery made use of an ROV to find wreckage on the ocean floor. Photo: Getty Images

It goes on to say that the problem was further compounded by the crew making incorrect decisions. Most crucially, the crew did not identify the approaching stall, and therefore could not implement corrective actions in time.

The aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil at just after 2 AM on the 1st of June 2009. It took two years for the flight recorders to be recovered from the ocean floor, which required the use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) due to the depth involved.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Israel’s Air Traffic Impacted By Rocket Attacks

Overnight, in retaliation for airstrikes on Gaza City, Israel came under a missile attack. More than 100 rockets…

Israel’s Air Traffic Impacted By Rocket Attacks

Overnight, in retaliation for airstrikes on Gaza City, Israel came under a missile attack. More than 100 rockets were fired from Gaza, targeting major cities and the main airport of Ben Gurion. The airport closed for around an hour, and although flights have now resumed, some airlines are already canceling future services to the country.

Flights have been disrupted at TLV following a night of violence. Photo: Getty Images

The worst violence in seven years

Israel is today waking up to scenes of destruction after a night of violence across the country. In retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on Hamas offices in Gaza City, militants in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets at Tel Aviv, the city of Ashkelon and at Israel’s main commercial airport, Ben Gurion (TLV).

With incoming missiles closing in on the airport, several aircraft were forced to divert to other airports or to enter a holding pattern until a safe landing could be confirmed. Over 100 rockets were fired from Gaza, and while most were intercepted by Israel’s sophisticated defense system known as the ‘Iron Dome’, some did get through.

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET404 was forced to hold over the ocean for more than an hour until it could be cleared to land. Reportedly, the airport was inspecting the runway for damage following a missile strike.

Ethiopian Airlines holding near TLV. Data:

A Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt was more than two and a half hours into its three and a half hour journey when it diverted. Rather than landing anywhere else, the A321 headed back to Germany, landing in Frankfurt over five and a half hours after taking off.

Lufthansa’s A321 took a flight to nowhere. Data:

Other flights, such as this Lufthansa MD-11 cargo service, were diverted elsewhere. This one ended up in Cairo, although other flights are reported to have been landing in Greece and Cyprus.

Some flights diverted to alternative airports. Data:

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Cancellations from many airlines

At one point, the airport closed entirely as it was deemed unsafe for civilian aircraft to take off or land. The airport was evacuated as sirens warned of the incoming attack. Although the airport reopened just over an hour later, several US airlines had already started canceling flights to Tel Aviv.

United, American Airlines and Delta have all canceled a number of flights due to arrive in Israel today, as well as their paired return service. With the situation in Israel still unstable, more cancellations could follow over the coming days.

Flight boards at TLV airport show that a number of Israeli airlines have canceled their services flying into Ben Gurion today. Other arriving flights have suffered delays, but most departing services appear to be taking off as normal.

Information from Israel Airports Authority

No damage has been reported at the airport, although video footage clearly shows strikes targeted at the civilian facility. The Iron Dome is doing a good job of keeping the airport safe, but with tensions still high, another attack remains a high probability.

Ben Gurion Airport told Simple Flying,

Ben Gurion Int’l Airport continues to operate in accordance with the schedule.

We are aware of the ongoing events in our country and we are having discussions and evaluations all the time.

Should there will be changes, information will be published and NOTAM will be distributed.

If you’re due to fly to Israel in the near future, check with your airline to ensure the flight is going ahead.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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