US airline Continental has been cleared of blame for the Concorde crash that killed 113 people shortly after take-off from Paris in 2000.
A French appeals court ruled on Thursday that the US airline was not criminally to blame for a small strip of metal that dropped onto the runway at Charles de Gaulle airport and which was blamed for causing the crash. A Continental mechanic was also cleared over a charge of involuntary manslaughter, Reuters has reported.
The ruling comes two years after another French court's ruling that the airline was criminally responsible for the crash, a verdict the airline described as 'absurd'.
Continental was fined €200,000 and ordered to pay Concorde's operator Air France €1 million in damages. The mechanic, John Taylor, was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence for 'having gone against industry norms' by using titanium to forge the piece that fell off the plane.
The court on Thursday said that Continental still bore civil responsiblity for the crash and upheld the fine, the BBC reported.
Air France Flight 4590 was scheduled to fly from Paris to John F Kennedy Airport in New York on 25 July 2000 and was carrying mostly German tourists on their way to the USA to rendezvous with a cruise ship.
During take-off, a tyre was punctured which sent debris flying, some of it hitting the underside of the wing structure and sending a shockwave into the fuel tanks which caused the fire.
The Concorde had barely got off the ground before it crashed into a hotel, killing all 109 on board and four hotel workers.
The accident - the only fatalities in Concorde's history - and an economic downturn, contributed to the aircraft being taken out of service three years later.