BA prepares to reinstate Concorde
LONDON, England -- British Airways says it is confident that commercial Concorde services will resume within weeks.
Concorde was grounded after an Air France Concorde crashed in Paris last July killing more than 100 people.
BA, which, with Air France operates the world's fleet of Concordes, says it is confident that the UK Civil Aviation Authority will re-issue the certificate of airworthiness for the planes.
Rod Eddington, BA's chief executive, said on Tuesday: "I am confident we will have it (Concorde) back in the air by late summer."
However he added: "It is the regulator that has the final call not the airline."
A total of 113 people -- 100 passengers, nine crew and four on the ground -- were killed in the July 25 crash, moments after the supersonic jet took off from Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The investigation focused on whether a piece of metal on the runway set off the tragic chain of events, with a punctured tyre causing debris to rupture the plane's fuel tanks.
Following safety tests in France, all Concordes are being fitted with improved fuel tanks.
A BA spokesman told CNN: "We have every reason to believe Concorde will resume commercial flights by the end of the summer.
He said that once BA had three of its seven Concordes available for service following modification, it anticipated introducing one daily return flight to New York.
Once five aircraft become available, the return flights would double to twice-daily.
Earlier this month it emerged that a compensation deal had been agreed between a group of insurance companies and the relatives of 92 of the people killed in he disaster.
German lawyer Gerhart Baum, part of a team that says it represents 75 victims' families, 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.
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