The decision was initially reported by an association of victims and then confirmed by a judicial source that asked not to be identified.
Sophia Seco, director of the victims association, said they will appeal the ruling, which she described as “inexplicable.”
“We are extremely upset,” Seco told the AP. “How is it possible for French justice to put an end to the deadliest Air France air crash in this way?”
The accident occurred on June 1, 2009, when Air France flight 447 took off from Rio de Janeiro to Paris but crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The 228 people died on board.
The Accident Investigation Agency found that the external speed sensors had frozen and were giving erroneous readings to the aircraft, which quickly lost height. Besides, the captain was not in the cockpit.
The judicial decision frustrates the request of the French prosecutor’s office, which wished to initiate proceedings against Air France for involuntary manslaughter although it had asked to dismiss the case against Airbus for lack of evidence.
The fall of the plane and the protests it generated shook the French government, co-owner of Air France. Victim associations also questioned the relationship between the airline and Airbus, which is also partly owned by the French government.
The case has led to new air safety standards related to speed detectors, called pitot tubes.
An AP investigation in 2009 found that Airbus knew since at least 2002 that there were problems with the type of sensor that was on flight 447, but authorities did not order to replace those devices until after the crash.
Airbus insists that the plane was in a position to fly, and aeronautical experts have determined that the crash was due to a wide range of problems. Critics say that neither the manufacturing company nor the airline took the problems with pitot tubes seriously.