Airbus to assist funding of extended AF447 recorder search

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Airbus is to contribute funding next month, along with other parties, to assist the deep-sea search effort for the flight recorders from the crashed Air France A330.

The twin-jet was lost two months ago during its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris but attempts to trace the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders have been unsuccessful.

Following the 1 June loss a search programme, 'Phase 1A', was initiated to retrieve debris and detect the recorders' sonic locator transmitters.

This was abandoned earlier this month, after recovery teams felt that the transmitters' power supply would have expired, and a second stage, termed Phase 1B, commenced to find debris and the recorders through sonar analysis.

Sources familiar with the situation state that both phases were funded from the budget of French investigation authority Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses but that Phase 1B will formally conclude on 22 August.

Airbus and other interested parties will contribute funding to extend the search to a third stage, designated Phase 2, which will broaden the sonar hunt to a larger region.

Sources indicate that the combined funding could amount to €20 million ($28 million), although it is unclear whether the Phase 2 search has a defined timeframe.

Airbus declines to comment beyond stating that the effort to locate the recorders from flight AF447 is important and that it is "supporting" the organisations involved.