Maybe we just don’t understand the scuba diving community quite as well as the country of Turkey does.
Because, to us, dropping an Airbus A330 commercial airliner into the middle of the ocean in Northwest Turkey as a way to “boost scuba diving tourism” and create an “artificial reef” doesn’t seem to make any immediate sense.
But, nonetheless, that’s exactly what has happened.
The plane was “scuttled a mile away off the Ibrice Port in Edirne province at a ceremony which was attended by Ali Uysal, deputy governor, among others,” according to AA.
“[…] Scuba diving tourism has a different market segment than mass tourism.”
He stated that an ordinary tourist generates income in the range of $500-600, while a tourist coming for scuba diving generates $2,000-3,000.
He continued: “For this reason, I think that the scuttled plane and artificial reef are very important.”
The plane is about 98 feet under the sea’s surface and was retired from flying last year, after starting its service in 1995.It was brought to the Kesan district of Edirne from Mediterranean resort city of Antalya in March of this year.
In addition to the plane, the Turkish government also dropped “various objects, and figures representing [the] Canakkale War” as part of the artificial reef.
The mayor of Kesan, Mustafa Helvacioglu, called it a “historical day” in the Gulf of Saros.
Fatih Erdem, director of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), said the project will contribute to both tourism and aquatic life.