On 4 June, a plane deposited gently on the Aegean Sea bed, with the intention of becoming an artificial reef to help boost scuba diving tourism, is the spectacular operation that the Turkish authorities have undertaken in the last few days, off Kusadasi, a town located 430 miles (700 km) south-west of the capital, Ankara.
The objective is to boost scuba diving tourism in the area. The plane is destined to become an artificial reef, generally popular with divers. The entirely gutted 36-year-old Airbus A300 was purchased from a private airline for 82,000 euros. As shown in the video, the lower fuselage and engine pylons were first equipped with large inflatable rafts. Then the 177 feet (54 m) long, 147 feet (45 m) wingspan aircraft was towed by boat a short distance off the Turkish coast, and finally, after an operation lasting 21/2 hours, sunk.
After a number of terrorist attacks that has hit the country in recent months, tourism in Turkey has fallen. According to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 1.75 million tourists visited the country in April - 28% less than the same period last year. With this aircraft "buried at sea" the government hopes to attract up to 250,000 additional tourists every year.
In recent years, three small planes have already been sent to the bottom off the Turkish coast, but this A300 is undoubtedly the biggest of all.