An Airbus A300 commercial jetliner sunk off the Aegean Sea coast near Turkey. Incidentally, it wasn’t in the form of mangled wreckage. Instead, Turkish authorities carefully lowered the giant plane to the bottom of the Aegean Sea for a much more ecological and commercial reason.
Once designed to ferry about 200 travelers at a time, an Airbus A300 commercial passenger jet went to the bottom of the Aegean Sea near Turkey. While the giant metal tube once flew at 30,000 feet, it will now rest, immobile, on the seabed off the resort of Kuşadası, in Aydin province, 50 miles south of Izmir. Interestingly, the plane did not suffer from any accident or wasn’t shot down.
Turkish authorities deliberately lowered the plane slowly into the sea to act as an artificial reef for the aquatic life. Additionally, the country intends to develop diving attractions and has been dropping entire planes for the past few months in hopes that marine life will make these jets their homes and help the region expand tourism.
The sinking of the plane is aimed at promoting artificial reef diving, reported the Guardian. At 54 meters (177 feet) long and a wingspan of 44 meters, the plane is a huge artificial object that will now rest on the seabed and serve as a potential habitat for a variety of sea life. Reef diving has always been a very popular tourist attraction for experienced divers, however, with the natural ones deteriorating quickly and not regenerating fast enough, the country has been trying to develop alternate options that would hopefully become a magnet, attracting underwater flora and fauna.
The Airbus A300’s journey began in Istanbul in April. Owing to its massive size, the jumbo jet was carefully dismantled into several parts for ease of transportation and then loaded onto trucks that traveled to the seaside resort town of Kuşadası.
Needless to say, Turkey hasn’t sunk a plane that had a few more years of service left. The A300 Turkey chose had been in the service for more than 36 years and was well past its prime. The plane was bought by Aydin municipality from a private aviation company. The town paid $92,000 (270,000 Turkish liras) for the decommissioned plane. The Airbus A300 is by far the largest airplane that has been intentionally sunk. However, the country has so far lowered three more planes off the Turkish coast.
Why is Turkey interested in artificial reefs? Turkey heavily depends on foreign tourists to sustain and grow its economy. The architecture, sightseeing, food, and culture have been sought by globe trotters for hundreds of years. However, the country has been a victim of multiple suicide bombings recently. While Turkey has been trying to rein in the violence perpetrated by terrorists, the country is also developing offshore tourist activities for foreigners who are wary of roaming through its streets.
Artificial coral reefs can serve as a viable tourist destination and can be created according to the demand. Moreover, these habitats take the pressure off the natural ones that are being increasingly threatened and destroyed by steadily warming and acidifying oceans.
Artificial reefs aren’t a new concept. They are springing up at a variety of locations across the globe. While Turkey chose airplanes, creators have used a variety of different objects, including subway coaches, to build these habitats.
According to the Washington Post, the most successful artificial reefs have been made using “reef balls.” These are basically hollow structures that look a bit like giant concrete Wiffle balls and are coated in sugar that has been mixed with a special compound to make them less acidic. The balls have been quiet effective in attracting, retaining, and helping the aquatic life thrive.
Do you think the four planes Turkey has sunk off its coast will become thriving artificial reefs?
[Photo by Gregory Bajor/Getty Images]