Turkey Sinks Airbus A300 for Artificial Reef

June 7, 2016
A 36-year-old Airbus A300 was retired from flight and sunk off the coast of Turkey in a effort to create an artificial reef to boost tourism and protect underwater life.

A 36-year-old Airbus A300 was retired from flight and sunk off the coast of Turkey in a effort to create an artificial reef to boost tourism and protect underwater life.  

Perhaps the largest plane ever used as an artificial reef, the 177 foot plane was submerged about 50 miles south of Kuşadası in the Aegean Sea by local officials to promote diving tourism.  

"We expect some 250,000 domestic and foreign tourists per year to come here for diving,"  Özlem Çerçioğlu, Aydin’s mayor, told Turkey's Daily Sabah newspaper. 

Artificial reefs are created by re-purposing specific items to be deliberately sunk on the seafloor in an effort to attract fish, coral and other sea creatures. 

Although there are several examples of successful artificial reefs, like "The Silent Evolution" off the coast of Mexico, some, like National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration biologist James Bohnsack, told ndtv.com they worry these reefs simply relocated fish, rather than provide the space to replenish populations.  

"It's like a sponge," Bohnsack told ABC News in August. "Squeeze out the water, and it'll soak up more. 

The wide-bodied plane, which took two and a half hours and a team of divers to sink, isn't the first in Turkish waters. Nearby there are three significantly smaller aircraft which were sunk off Turkish beach resorts in recent years. 

“Our goal is to make Kuşadası a centre of diving tourism," Çerçioğlu told the Guardian. "Our goal is to protect the underwater life." 

The Airbus, with a wingspan of 144 feet, was purchased from a private company for $92,000.