A Turkish Airlines passenger plane on Monday night traveling from Ouagadougou (OUA) to Conakry (CKY) hit severe turbulence as it approached its destination, injuring 5 passengers in the process.
According to Simple Flying, the incident took place when the flight, operated by an Airbus A330-200, was on approach into Conakry’s Ahmed Sékou Touré International Airport.
The crew of the flight, which had originated in Istanbul (IST), alerted the tower to the turbulence, and a crisis team was put into action at the airport. This team was made up of medics, firefighters, and security personnel. Upon landing, passengers were assessed by the medics, and five of them were subsequently taken to hospital. The aircraft later departed safely for its return flight to Istanbul, with a delay of approximately five hours. Simple Flying has approached Turkish Airlines for comment.
Turkish Airlines and the A330
Turkish Airlines flight TK537 was being operated by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, with the registration TC-JNB. There were 134 passengers onboard. According to ch-aviation, TC-JNB was delivered new to Turkish Airlines in December 2005. The Airbus A330-200 seats 250 passengers – 232 in economy class and 18 in business class, and it is one of 13 Airbus A330-200s currently in the airline’s fleet. The airline also has 37 of the larger Airbus A330-300, each seating a total of 289 passengers in a two-class configuration.
Although flight TK537 on Monday may not have been the most pleasant experience for passengers, Turkish Airlines boasts on its website about the comforts onboard its Airbus A330-200s, including “special lighting installments that create an ambient atmosphere, reducing the effects of jetlag and in-flight entertainment providing live TV channels, music and satellite connectivity.”
Istanbul to Conakry, via Ouagadougou
Flight TK537 is a scheduled service from Istanbul to Conakry that Turkish Airlines operates three times per week. The flight makes a 55-minute stopover in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso en route to the Guinean capital. The airline has fifth-freedom rights to transport passengers solely between the two airports.
Ahmed Sékou Touré International Airport is located in Conakry, Guinea. The airport mainly serves destinations across West Africa, but also regularly welcomes widebody aircraft belonging to Emirates, Brussels Airlines, Air France, and Turkish Airlines, arriving from their respective hubs. TAP Air Portugal also flies from Lisbon using its Airbus A321 aircraft.
Is severe turbulence becoming more widespread?
Monday night’s incident is not the first time that severe turbulence onboard a Turkish Airlines flight has led to injury – in 2019, 29 passengers were injured when the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft they were flying on encountered severe turbulence around 45 minutes before landing into New York JFK.
We may well see more incidents of this kind over the coming years. Experts predict that clear air turbulence will become more commonplace as a result of increasing wind sheers in the jet stream caused by global warming.