Only goes to show that once the legal profession gets involved in something technical and complex like aviation, the court outcome is a complete lottery depending on who is adjudicating. The verdicts go backwards and forwards like a yo-yo. The only constant is the legal profession collecting huge fees on all sides at each and every stage. I'm sure that, compared to their lawyers' bill, the EUR 1m damages Continental had to pay were chicken feed.
Taking off the wrong way. Overweight plane, full of German tourists with lots of luggage. Too much fuel on board.. Dodgy bearing on one wheel set. President Chirac in the way. Shut down the flaming engine. Titanium strip of metal on runway. Longest runway under repair. Air France.
I see the BBC report has been updated (1531) and now says
"But the court said Continental still bore civil responsibility and upheld the 1m-euro payment
Separately, Air France is suing Continental for 15m euros at a commercial tribunal. The US airline had consistently argued that the Concorde caught fire before it hit the metal strip, and that they were being used as a scapegoat to protect France's airline industry."
There was a spacer missing from the left gear asembly
However, the Observer, citing John Hutchinson, a British Concorde pilot for 15 years, said the lack of a component called "spacer" in the undercarriage was a contributing factor.
When Air France mechanics had taken the undercarriage apart for a service, they reassembled it without the part, which keeps the wheels in the correct alignment. The missing spacer was found on the original part in the workshop
Without the spacer, the aircraft veered on takeoff "like a supermarket trolley with a jammed wheel," claimed the Observer. It was this, not the loss of power, which sent the jet heading to the edge of the runway, and neary into collision with an Air France 747, the same one that the picture of Concorde trailing flames on the runway was taken from.
The firemen claimed that it was the friction caused by the jammed wheel assembly that caused the tyre to burst and not the metal strip and that this caused the airacraft to veer towards the edge of the runway where the metal strip had fallen off.
If the spacer had been fitted then the Concorde would have stayed straight down the centre line and been nowhere near the metal strip.