At the end of the leg preceding the incident, in the absence of verification by the first officer, the captain's error in the fuel log calculation was not corrected/identified. It is likely that a result showing a difference of nearly 900 kg would have alerted this crew and the next to a Fuel Quantity Indicating Computer (FQIC) failure.
The crew of the incident flight, trusting the information available to them (the ATL and the FQIC indications), had incorrect awareness at the start of the flight of the actual quantity of fuel on board.
During the flight, the crew associated the activation of the low fuel level warning with an untimely warning related to the FQIC malfunction recorded by the previous crew in the ATL.
Shortly afterwards, when the fuel pumps stopped due to fuel starvation, and then when the left engine shut down after the left tanks emptied, the crew were unable to identify the cause and thought that the two pumps had failed simultaneously. Throughout the flight, the crew retained the impression that the fuel quantity indicated in the ATL was correct and that the FQIC sensors could be malfunctioning. At no time did the crew question whether there was fuel in the left tank until they arrived at the apron.
Technical examinations identified a failure of the fuel quantity indicating system, which provided erroneous information about the amount of fuel in the tanks before departure and during the flight.
During the investigation, the coordination and exchanges between Airbus, Air France and the BEA enabled adequate safety measures to be put in place to prevent the failures identified.
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