Stewarts’ aviation team of London, UK, together with Sarre Rouxel Le Tutour Avocats of Paris, France, have commenced legal proceedings against Air France and Airbus on behalf of the family of 31-year-old flight attendant, Clara Amado. Although Air France were willing to engage in settlement negotiations with families of passengers soon after the tragedy, they have been reluctant to assist the families of cabin crew. The claim has been brought in the Court of First Instance in Bobigny.

With the French prosecutors concluding that the Air France were aware of technical problems on its plane but failed to train pilots to resolve them, the prosecutors now recommend that Air France stand trial for manslaughter and negligence for the flight that killed all 228 people on board. The judges in charge of the criminal case are not bound to follow the prosecutors’ advice, but must take it into account in deciding whether to order a trial.

Clara’s sister, Soledad Lescano, comments:

“These past 10 years have been so emotionally demanding for us. It has been so hard for us and still is. We want justice, and we want Air France and Airbus to assume the responsibility they have. This year, the 1 June, was 10 years since the day of the accident and Air France didn’t even make the effort to arrange a ceremony in respect of all the people that died that day. It is very heart-breaking. The accident is always present for us, and the tears do not seem to end.”

Air France flight AF447 was flying through a storm over the Southern Atlantic when it disappeared on 1 June 2009 with 228 passengers and crew on board. It was one of the worst accidents in recent aviation history and led to the biggest search for an aircraft organised by France.

The aircraft was in a blackspot between air traffic control towers in Brazil and Senegal when it disappeared. Black box data later showed the aircraft’s speed recorders (pitot tubes) had frozen, setting off a catastrophic chain of events in the cockpit. The official accident investigation concluded that the cause of the disaster was pilot error coupled with technical malfunctions of the pitot tubes and faulty computer readings.

The disaster highlighted an important public concern as to whether pilots are too dependent on technology and whether they retain the knowledge required to fly complex commercial aircraft. This concern continues to exist today.

Sarah Stewart, partner in Stewarts aviation team, says:

“It is important that Airbus and Air France finally give recognition to the Amado family. Despite the findings of the BEA and subsequent settlement negotiations with families of passengers, it is notable that no public apology has been made by either Airbus or Air France to any of the families, not to mention the family of Clara Amado, in these 10 years. The Amado family needs closure.”

This article was written by Senior Paralegal Anoushka Nehra



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