The lack of progress in the crash investigation of Yemenia flight IY626 has drawn unusually sharp criticism from the French air accident investigation office, the BEA, which is urging the Comoros authorities to move to publish a final report without further delay.

The dispute centers around the crash of an Airbus A310 flying from Sanaa, Yemen to Moroni, Comoros on June 30, 2009 in which 153 persons died with a single survivor. Most of the passengers originated in France.

BEA director Jean-Paul Troadec on July 5 sent an unusually blunt letter to the head of the accident investigation complaining that the review has not made sufficient progress. He notes that a report has been compiled by local authorities, which was completed last month, but still has not been made public. He also notes that document appears to be mere findings of initial facts, which should have been issued within three months of the accident.

He criticizes the fact that data recorders have not been analyzed because of what he characterizes as baseless arguments, noting that France contributed €3 million to recover the so-called black boxes.

BEA reached out to the local authorities before, including last year when it proposed a work plan to advance the investigation, but no action has been taken. Troadec writes that he is left to conclude the accident investigation has failed to advance since September 2009.

The BEA chief also calls on his counterpart to quickly put together a work program to see the investigation to its conclusion.

French political involvement early on has contributed to a difficult atmosphere in the IY626 investigation. Politicians accused Yemenia of operating an unsafe aircraft, causing a backlash with authorities in Yemen. The airline said it wanted an independent, third party investigation, citing the attacks from France.