June 11: Air France Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Henri Gourgeon confirmed that Air France is speeding up its programme to replace the anemometric sensors on its fleet of A330s following the loss of Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1.
Air France launched its programme to replace the sensors on May 29 as soon as it received a stock of parts from Airbus. As the last automatic messages from Flight 447 indicated a problem concerning speed measurement, the replacement plan has been stepped up.
In May 2008 Air France experienced incidents involving the loss of airspeed data on A340s and A330s – it was concluded intermittent icing may be the problem, for which Air France asked Airbus for a solution. Tests suggested that a modification using a new probe designed for the A320 would reduce the incidence of icing, and Air France decided to replace all its probes from April 27, 2009.
Gourgeon stressed that no link between the sensors and the causes of the accident can be assumed. Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) maintain that all A330/A340s are safe with any one of the three types of existing sensors.