What was arguably the death knell for Concorde was the disastrous crash of Air France’s Flight 4590 in 2000, which killed all 100 of its passengers, nine crew members and four people on the ground. The crash was caused by a titanium strip falling off a Continental Airlines DC-10 aircraft that had taken off minutes before the ill-fated Concorde. The strip pierced one of Flight 4590’s tyres, caused it to explode and consequently sent rubber into one of the aircraft’s fuel tanks. The resultant shockwave caused a major fuel leak, which then ignited due to electrical landing gear wires sparking.
Post-crash, despite Concorde being arguably one of the safest operational passenger airliners in the world, both Air France and British Airways – its only two operators – reported a steep decline in passenger numbers, leading both fleets to be decommissioned in 2003.