What happens to airplanes when they’re taken out of commission? For one lucky Airbus A300, it’s getting a second life as a coral reef.
As the Daily Mail reported, the 36-year-old aircraft was purchased by Turkish officials for approximately $93,950 and sunk off the coast of country’s coast on Saturday, June 4.
Turkey hopes the 177-foot-long aircraft will promote coral growth, and become a popular artificial dive spot. The country’s tourist numbers have plummeted (down more than 40 percent compared to this time last year) due largely to the region’s terrorism threats and migrant crisis. In an attempt to bolster the tourism industry—scuba diving, specifically—at the resort town of Kuşadasi, the jet was floated out to sea and sunk over the course of two and a half hours.
Considering that our natural reefs, from Australia to the shores of Florida, are rapidly bleaching and disappearing altogether, these artificial reefs are critical to promoting underwater life and conservation.
This is hardly the first time a destination has created its own “natural” attraction. Beneath an underwater villa in Dubai, developers are planning an artificial reef to protect endangered seahorses. Near Marathon, Florida, snorkelers and divers can visit a 200,000-gallon tank that houses an artificial reef—while an ocean cemetery near Key Biscayne doubles as the world’s largest man-made reef.
Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.