Following a series of pilot errors on approach to Moroni airport, Yemenia flight 626 crashed into the Indian Ocean on the night of June 29 to 30, 2009, taking with it 142 passengers, including 66 French, and 11 crew members.
Only a 12-year-old girl, Bahia Bakari, had survived.
The Yemeni national company “participated in the errors” which led to the disaster, it committed “omissions” and made “bad decisions”, argued prosecutor Marie Jonca, on the last day of this trial which began on 9 may.
“You have in this cockpit two pilots who do not have an equivalent professional level”, who “do not know how to work together” and, “above all, who have never been specifically trained to approach this difficult and particular terrain. from Moroni airport”, underlined the magistrate.
In addition, she added, “you have two pilots who will continue an approach in delicate conditions, at night, in a manner prohibited by regulation (and) in dangerous circumstances”, because of the breakdown for several months of some airport lights.
“Despite these circumstances of which it was aware”, the company “did not decide to reschedule this flight in the early morning and, consistently as it was able to do immediately after the accident, to simply prohibit the flights of night during this period”, underlined Marie Jonca.
“She waited for the accident to happen,” insisted the magistrate. “The company had a reactive management of the risk, one expected from it a proactive management”.
The prosecutor also requested the publication of the court judgment on the company’s website.
In the large courtroom, a hundred relatives of the victims came to listen to the requisitions. In the front row sat Bahia Bakari, 25 today, who survived by clinging to the wreckage of a plane for about ten hours, before being rescued by a boat.
No company official, who disputes any “failure”, is present before the Paris Criminal Court because of the war ravaging Yemen, according to the company’s lawyers who, as the law allows, represent it since the start of the trial.
They must plead for release in the afternoon.