French air accident investigation agency Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses has drawn up an inquiry team after being formally notified by Air France over the Airbus A330-200 which disappeared during a transatlantic service to Paris.

Air France has handed all its information on the missing flight, AF447 from Rio de Janeiro, to the BEA and Airbus.

BEA has cautioned against "hasty interpretation" of "fragmentary" and unconfirmed information.

But there is still no clarity regarding the fate or location of the aircraft.

Brazil's ministry of defence has intensified the search effort, deploying three naval vessels, five aircraft and two helicopters to assist in the hunt.

Airbus says the twin-jet had accumulated about 2,500 cycles and flown about 18,800hr. It adds that it has offered "full technical assistance" to the investigation board.

While four A330 aircraft have previously suffered hull losses, all of them occurred in exceptional circumstances.

Two SriLankan Airlines A330s were destroyed in an attack on Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport in July 2001, while a Malaysia Airlines A330 was written off after a chemical spill in March 2000.

Airbus lost an A330 in a fatal accident in June 1994, during a performance test at the airframer's Toulouse headquarters.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news