As Settlement Nears Concorde May Fly Again

March 13, 2001

A spokesman for La Réunion Aèrienne, the group of insurers* which covers Air France confirmed an earlier report Monday that they were close to reaching a settlement with the lawyers for the victims of the Concorde crash last July. No details of the compensation terms have been released, but both sides indicated they expected to work out necessary details within the next two to three months.

According to an AP report Ronald Schmid, a member of the legal team that represents 95 percent of the victims’ families, said “The negotiations are no longer about the ‘ whether’ of compensation, but only about who is entitled and the level.” Several lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. seeking compensation, and a suit for reimbursement against Continental Airlines is under way in France.

The news came as both Air France and British Airways continued to plan for Concorde’s eventual return to the skies. BA hopes to resume London/New York flights as early as June or July. Air France has indicated it’s looking at a September date. The planes are currently being modified, mainly by lining the fuel tanks with Kevlar, at an estimated cost of $25 million a piece.

* La Réunion Aèrienne consists of a consortium: Mutuelle du Mans, CGNU, Groupama/Gan and Generali have 50 percent of the coverage. AGF/MAT/ Allianz/Le Continent have 30 percent; and AXA covers the remaining 20.

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