The French agency investigating the disaster said airspeed instruments on the plane had not been replaced as the maker had recommended, but cautioned that it was too early to draw conclusions about what role that may have played in the crash.
The agency, BEA, said the plane received inconsistent airspeed readings from different instruments as it struggled in a massive thunderstorm.
Search crews have recovered 24 bodies (@09 June ) so far and found the vertical stabilizer from the tail section of the A330-200 plane, which could help narrow the hunt for the black boxes to determine why the jet crashed.
The data and voice recorders are located in the fuselage near the tail section of the jet.
Investigators are considering the possibility that the plane's external speed monitors - called Pitot tubes - that may have iced over and gave dangerously false readings to cockpit computers in a thunderstorm.
According to the Airbus Web site, total orders for the A330 twin-engine passenger planes so far stood at 956, of which 669 have been delivered.
Some 614 jets are operating worldwide - 269 of the larger A330-300 series and 345 of the shorter fuselage A330-200 jets, it said. - AP