Concorde crash payouts start
HANOVER, Germany -- Relatives of the victims of last year's Concorde crash have begun to receive compensation payments expected to total $120 million.
Insurers for Air France initiated the payments as British Airways announced that a Concorde was making the first supersonic test flight since the planes were grounded after the crash.
A lawyer representing relatives of 75 of the passengers who died in the Air France jet said that around 40 percent of the payments had already been sent out by cheque.
Ulrich von Jeinsen said the remaining payments should be made in the next few days and will be completed by the first anniversary of the July 25 crash.
Many of the 109 people on the plane were German tourists. Four people on the ground also were killed.
Relatives of the majority of the German passengers accepted a hefty compensation offer in May. Their lawyers say they represent a total of 400 relatives.
Attorneys have refused to release details of the settlement, but news reports in France and Germany have said the total compensation amounted to roughly $100 million.
Last Friday, the lawyer for another group of about a dozen relatives said they had reached their own settlement -- for "several million" marks -- with the airline.
Another attorney said the total compensation package was worth about $120 million to be distributed to about 730 relatives.
Depending how close they were to the victim, survivors will get between $100,000 and $1 million, he said.
A Concorde jet is to make its first flight at supersonic speed since the planes were grounded following last year's devastating crash. The flight on Tuesday will also be the first test flight of a British Airways Concorde since the tragedy.
A BA Concorde will take to the air in a test flight aimed at putting the jet back into passenger service by late summer, the airline announced.
French investigators say the supersonic Concorde rolled over a thin metal strip that had dropped onto the runway from a Continental aircraft.
One of the Concorde's tyres burst, leading to the fiery crash just after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
Since the accident, interested parties have launched a series of lawsuits.
Among others, Air France and its insurers last year sued Continental Airlines, and in January relatives of three German victims filed a suit in New York against Air France, Continental, and several manufacturers including General Electric and tyre firm Goodyear.
Meanwhile, a resumption of Concorde services, which have been grounded since the tragedy, look set to resume within weeks.
Two weeks ago, the Concorde manufacturer European aeronautics consortium EADS said the plane could resume flights as early as September.
French Transport Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot said last month that Concorde could be certified to fly in the autumn, "after it is guaranteed that the chain of events that led to the catastrophe cannot repeat itself."
Concorde faces supersonic test
July 16, 2001
Concorde: Speed and luxury
July 5, 2001
BA Concorde test flights due soon
July 5, 2001
Concorde could fly again soon
May 30, 2001
Concorde compensation deal agreed
May 13, 2001
History of the supersonic airliner
April 18, 2001
Concorde tests new tyres
April 18, 2001
Concorde test pilot dies
March 25, 2001
Concorde completes safety tests
February 2, 2001
Concorde flies again
January 18, 2001
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