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Missing Algerian plane 'in good condition' this week: French watchdog

Published on Jul 25, 2014 12:35 AM
A photo taken on July 24, 2014 shows a plaque of an Air Algerie airlines office in Paris. Many French nationals are thought to be on board an Air Algerie jet that went missing after taking off from Burkina Faso for Algiers, French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said on July 24 , 2014-- PHOTO: AFP 

PARIS (AFP) - An Air Algerie jet leased from a Spanish firm that went missing on Thursday was checked "two or three days ago" and was "in good condition", France's aviation watchdog said.

Mr Patrick Gandil, head of the French civil aviation authority, said the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 "passed through France in Marseille two or three days ago. We examined it and we found almost nothing, it was really in good condition."

Flight AH5017, which originated in Ouagadougou and was bound for Algiers, went missing over Mali in the early morning with 116 passengers and crew on board, including at least 50 French nationals.

Mr Gandil said the Spanish firm Swiftair to which the plane belongs was well run.

"Spain keeps a check on its airline firms. There is nothing to look into on that front," he said, adding that there was a minor problem "on the equivalent of a brake pad."

"Frankly I can guarantee that it has nothing to do with what happened at 31,000 feet (9,450 m)," he said, adding that the plane's good condition did not preclude that there could have been an unexpected breakdown.

"But this is really not the first hypothesis," he added.