Fourth search for missing AF447 to launch in early 2011

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France's Government is to launch another search for the wreckage of the Air France Airbus A330-200 which crashed into the South Atlantic last year.

Recovery teams are scheduled to begin the search in February 2011.

It would be the fourth attempt to find the missing aircraft, which was operating flight AF447 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris when it was lost on 1 June 2009.

French transport minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet and transport secretary Thierry Mariani disclosed the plan following a review of the technical investigation into the accident.

"They have decided to launch a new campaign to locate the wreckage," says the ministry in a statement.

Few details have been released regarding the precise search area or the resources which will be deployed.

But the transport secretary says: "This search campaign will call upon the best equipment currently available."

The ministry has not given any indication as to the source of funding.

Airbus has previously provided financial support for the attempts to find the lost aircraft. Neither flight recorder was retrieved after the accident and efforts to locate the devices have so far proven fruitless.

While the French investigation agency Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses has worked intensively to understand the accident, its inquiry has been hampered by the lack of recovered aircraft parts and the absence of detailed on-board data.