More than 100 passengers and crew are feared dead after an Air France Concorde jet crashed after take-off from Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris.

The supersonic jet was chartered by a party of German travellers to New York.

The crash happened a day after hairline cracks were discovered in British Airways' fleet of six Concordes.

The air disaster means further losses for the £800m aviation insurance market which is reportedly £2bn in the red last year.

Brokers Heath Group, which has placed some of Air France's reinsurance in the London market, said it was too early to estimate losses.

Chief operating officer Stewart Wilson said he believed part of the risk was retained by the airline itself, and part was retained in France.

Eyewitnesses said the aircraft's left-side engine was on fire, and that it was not able to gain sufficient altitude before it crashed.

The crash is the first of the supersonic jet built by Britain and France.