Concorde compensation deal agreed
BERLIN, Germany -- Lawyers representing relatives of the German victims of last year's Concorde air crash outside Paris say a compensation deal has been reached with Air France.
"The settlement has been agreed to in the last few days by Air France as well as by the relatives," German lawyer Gerhart Baum said on Sunday.
Baum is part of a team that says it represents 75 victims' families and a total of 400 relatives.
He said all those involved in the deal had committed themselves to silence about the value of the individual payments, but said the overall deal was based on the amount that could have been expected under U.S. damages claims.
"In that way the German relatives will now be paid damages to a level not known before," he said.
"Payments of damages are expected in June 2001."
Air France's insurers have said in the past their offer comes close to an overall settlement of around $150 million.
All 109 people on board -- most of them Germans on a luxury package tour -- and four people on the ground were killed when the supersonic airliner crashed on take-off from Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport on July 25.
Investigators believe that a metal strip lying on the runway at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport gashed one of the Concorde's tires, sending rubber debris hurtling toward fuel tanks and triggering a fuel leak and fire that brought the plane down last July.
Baum said the cause of the accident, although of interest to the relatives, "did not play a role in the compensation negotiations."
New so the deal comes as Concorde continues to undergo tests which will allow it to take to the skies as a commercial operation again.
Investigators hope the tests will help determine the precise cause of the crash.
After the crash, certification allowing the 12 existing Concordes to fly was withdrawn and the jets, operated by Air France and British Airways, were grounded until safety could be assured.
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