The Paris crash of Concord was the beginning of the end for an era of luxury supersonic travel for the super rich.
Today, Continental Airlines and five individuals go on trial in Paris charged with involuntary manslaughter over the deadly crash, ten years ago.
Previous investigations have concluded that a small piece of metal dropped off one of its departing flights, puncturing one of Concorde’s tyres. The resulting debris ruptured Concord’s fuel tanks, triggering a fire.
But the firm’s lawyer believes otherwise and says there are many unanswered questions about Concord’s safety and maintenance levels.
Olivier Metzner, lawyer for Continental Airways, explained: “The fire that caused the crash preceded Concord running over a bit of metal – a piece of metal like you find on so many airport runways.”
Central to the case will be whether Concorde’s engineers and the French Civil Aviation Authority were aware of a vulnerability in the plane’s fuel tanks before the fateful crash which hastened the demise of the highly uneconomical airliner.
All 109 people on board died in the crash along with four hotel employees on the ground.
The results of the trial could have wide-ranging implications on the way the airline industry maintains its planes and the stringency of security measures.
The case could last up to four months, with Continental facing the prospect of multi-million euro fines if found guilty.