The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) deplores the decision by prosecutors in France to pursue charges of involuntary manslaughter against Continental Airlines and two of its employees, John Taylor and Stanley Ford, the former chief of the Concorde program for Airbus, Henri Perrier and the ex-head of training at the DGAC Claude Franzen in connection with the tragic crash of AF4950 in 2000.
In March of this year when charges were first filed, the Federation issued a statement which pointed out that IFALPA that noted several flaws in the intended prosecution, many of them cantering on the concept of negligence.
IFALPA argues that for criminal culpability to be established it must be demonstrated that there was intent to cause harm or a disregard for a high probability that harm will occur. In other words, the prosecution of
an individual for attempting to deal with a particular situation and failing is without sufficient grounds.
Furthermore, such prosecutions do nothing to improve the safety of the air transport system since they may prevent technical investigators getting full disclosure from witnesses which, in the end, will limit the value
of the lessons that may prevent future accidents.
On the basis of the published record of the investigation into the tragedy of AF4950, there is no evidence of such intent and, therefore, the prosecution is without foundation and does nothing to improve safety for the traveling public. Accordingly, IFALPA calls on the French Ministry of Justice and Mme Rachida Dati as its Minister to drop the charges forthwith.