Concorde passengers forced to end journey by coach

Nearly 100 Concorde passengers faced completing their journey from New York to London by coach last night, due to an engine problem.

Only weeks before the Concorde fleet is due to go out of service, one of the jets was forced to land at Cardiff after encountering a problem with one of its four engines while crossing the Atlantic from JFK airport, New York.

After experiencing an "engine surge", the aircraft reverted from supersonic to subsonic, using up more fuel, which meant it was unable to continue to Heathrow.

The jet, which was at almost full capacity with 99 passengers on board, landed at Cardiff at about the same time it was scheduled to arrive at Heathrow.

While British Airways offered its full apologies for the diversion, passengers were forced to complete their journey to London by coach. "It was not an emergency landing and the safety of the passengers or crew were not compromised," said a spokesman for British Airways.

Last night's diversion took place only weeks before British Airways and Air France Concordes, the only commercial airline that travels faster than the speed of sound, are taken out of service.

The slump in tourism has taken its toll on Concorde, which has suffered a technical problems since the Air France crash in Paris three years ago in which 114 people died.

Immediately before the announcement in April that Concorde services would cease, three supersonic flights were grounded or aborted due to engine problems.

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