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
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
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
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