November 29, 2012 9:43:48 AM
VERSAILLES, France -- A French appeals court is set to decide today whether to uphold a manslaughter conviction against Continental Airlines for the July 2000 crash of an Air France Concorde that killed 113 people.
The crash led to the Concorde program, a synonym for luxury but a commercial failure despite its high speed and advanced technology, to be taken out of service in 2003. Air France and British Airways had jointly operated the program.
In the 2000 accident, the jet slammed into a hotel near Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport soon after taking off, killing all 109 people aboard and four others on the ground. Most of the victims were Germans heading to a cruise in the Caribbean.
A French court initially convicted Continental Airlines Inc. and one of its mechanics in 2010 for the crash of the Air France Concorde, and imposed about €2 million ($2.7 million) in damages and fines on the carrier.
The lower court ruled that the mechanic fitted a faulty metal strip on a Continental DC-10 that fell onto the runway, puncturing the Concorde's tire, sending bits of rubber into the fuel tanks and starting the fire that brought down the plane.
Continental merged with United in 2010 and the new company is called United Continental Holdings Corp.