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|Wednesday, March 14, 2001, updated at 14:53(GMT+8)|
Airline Chief: Air France Concordes Could Resume Flights by SeptemberAir France's supersonic Concordes could resume commercial flights by September if aviation authorities give the green light, the airline's chief said Monday.
"We hope to be able to resume Concorde flights in September," Air France executive managing director Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said, "provided the authorities renew their air safety certificate."
All 12 of the delta-winged aircraft operated by Air France and British Airways were grounded last summer after an Air France Concorde crashed just after take-off from Paris, killing 113 people.
The crash last July is believed to have been caused by debris from a burst tyre rupturing a fuel tank in the left wing during take-off.
Both airlines have since carried out a series of modifications, mainly to the fuel tanks, which are now lined with a layer of rubber-compound Kevlar, similar to that used in combat jets and Formula 1 racing cars.
But the modifications still have to be approved by British and French aviation officials before the jets can take off again, said Gourgeon.
British Airways, which owns seven of the Concordes, has said it hopes to resume commercial service by late spring or early summer.
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