PARIS – Britain and France will likely certify renovated Concordes to fly again by the end of this month, officials said Monday, more than year after a deadly crash grounded the supersonic fleet.
But the certificates will only be given on a plane-by-plane basis according to the modifications made, said Gerard Le Houx, a spokesman for French civil aviation authorities.
Air France grounded its fleet of five Concordes immediately after the July 25, 2000, crash of one of its jets, north of Paris that killed 113 people. British Airways kept its seven planes flying until shortly before the jets' airworthiness certificate was withdrawn in mid-August last year.
The decision on restoring the certificates came from French and British officials meeting Monday for the ninth time as part of a working group.
The officials noted "with satisfaction that Concorde's certificate of airworthiness was likely to be restored simultaneously (to Air France and British Airways) probably before the end of August 2001," French civil aviation authorities said in a statement.
British Airways has said it hopes to resume commercial flights in late summer. Air France has said it wants to get back in the air by autumn.
The renovations to the fleet include adding puncture-resistant tires and lining the fuel tanks with bulletproof material. Last summer's crash was thought to have been caused by a stray metal strip on the runway that ripped one of the jet's tires, spraying the fuel tanks with rubber debris and starting a fire.