The new European Airbus, grounded when one of the planes crashed at an airshow killing three passengers, can fly again after officials cleared the airliners' revolutionary technology of blame for the disaster.
French Transport Minister Louis Mermaz said preliminary investigations showed the plane was not at fault when an Air France Airbus A-320 with 136 people aboard crashed into a forest during an air display near the Swiss border on Sunday.The dead included a 14-year-old handicapped boy and a seven-year-old girl who could not escape before the airliner caught fire and exploded.
"No evidence at present throws doubt on the proper functioning of the plane," Mermaz said on Monday.
Air France immediately said it was ending the grounding of its two remaining A-320s. Earlier British Airways lifted the suspension of flights by the A-320, the first commercial airliner to feature the electronics of a jet fighter.
The 150-seat plane, billed by its manufacturers as a model of air safety whose computers are guaranteed to overcome human error, carries the hopes of the four-nation European Airbus consortium for the airliner market of the 1990s.
It broke records for international orders before entering commercial service in April. Only six have been delivered so far. The plane which crashed on Sunday was three days old.
Attention is now focused on the pilot's last maneuver, made seconds before the plane plowed into a forest in front of 15,000 spectators at the air show.
The public prosecutor leading a legal inquiry into the accident said he was convinced the pilot was flying far too low.
Prosecutor Jean Volff told a news conference in the eastern French town of Mulhouse that the pilot had skimmed over the runway on low power at a height of 30 feet before trying to accelerate and pull the plane up again.
Volff said the plane was being flown "completely outside technical norms" and that the low-level overflight, planned by the crew as a star feature of the display, should have been executed at a minimum height of 100 feet.