06 February 2020 14:40
Three people have died after a passenger jet broke into pieces after overshooting the runway and crashing into a wall at an Istanbul airport. Pegasus Airlines flight 2193 from Izmir, a Turkish city 45-minutes' flight from Istanbul, was landing at Sabiha Gokcen, the city's second airport, when the accident happened at 18.30 local time yesterday. The plane dropped onto the runway at high speed, before careering down an embankment and crashing into a perimeter wall. Recordings of the conversation between the pilot and the control tower in the seconds before the crash revealed that there was a strong tailwind that had forced two previous flights to delay their landing. 179 people of the 183 people on board have been injured MURAD SEZER/REUTERS Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of Istanbul, said that bad weather in Istanbul last night caused the The Boeing 737 jet, which was carrying 177 passengers and six crew when the crash happened, made an attempt to land amid heavy rain and high winds.
The flight was en route from Izmir province in western Turkey. Sabiha Gokcen was closed following the incident, with flights diverted. The airport has since reopened. Turkish media reports the majority of people onboard were Turkish, as well as 22 foreign nationals from 12 countries. In a statement, Pegasus said it was "deeply saddened" to confirm three people died in the crash.
It tipped over a steep embankment and came to rest some 200m from the runway end, its fuselage fracturing into three sections. Turkish investigators are likely to be examining the weather conditions at the time of the overrun, and whether the decision to land on runway 06 – which was experiencing gusting tailwinds, according to Sabiha Gokcen's meteorological data – contributed to the overrun. The aircraft, operating flight PC2193 from Izmir under the callsign 'Sunturk 87R', was advised of a westerly wind with a speed of 22kt, gusting to 34kt, when it was cleared to land, according to tower communications archived by LiveATC. This would have generated a tailwind for the arriving 737. At least two other preceding flights, both operated by Turkish Airlines, on approach to the runway appear to have opted to execute a go-around.
This accident is likely to draw attention to Pegasus's operating record. The fatal Sabiha Gokcen accident is the second excursion suffered by the airline in a month at the airport, and comes just two years after another major excursion accident at Trabzon during which a 737-800 was left badly damaged and precariously perched on a cliff edge. The share price of Turkey's low cost carrier Pegasus tumbled on Thursday as the airline grapples with a crash on Wednesday that killed three people and injured 179 others when a Boeing 737-800 skidded off a runway in Istanbul. This is the second incident for the airline this year after a flight from the UAE slid off the runway at Istanbul airport in early January, resulting in no injuries. Video footage showed passengers fleeing through gaps in the fuselage. The rear of the jet caught fire, while the front detached and came to rest upside down. Pegasus's share price has fallen nearly 17 per cent since a high of 86 Turkish lira (Dh52.74) on January 2. On Thursday, the company's share price was down more than 4 per cent to 71.70 lira at 3:49pm UAE time. Sabiha Gokcen airport, located on the Asian side of Istanbul, was closed following the incident but resumed flights early Thursday, authorities said. The airline, which is listed on the Istanbul Bourse, counts Turkey-based private equity firm Esas Holding, Norway's Norges Bank, US based private investment firm Dimensional Fund Advisors, British asset management company Schroders and investment firm BlackRock and others as shareholders, according to Bloomberg data. The airline flies to more than 100 destinations including domestic and international routes. The carrier's fleet of 83 planes include Airbus A320-200 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with orders for Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321neo planes, according to its website. The airline was founded in 1990 as a joint venture company by Aer Lingus Group, Silkar Yatırım ve Insaat Organizasyonu and Net Holding and entered into commercial operation with two airplanes. The carrier went public on Borsa Istanbul in 2013, floating 34.5 per cent of its shares. Pegasus was the best-performing stock in 2019 on the Borsa Istanbul 30 Index, a gauge tracking the shares of Turkey's largest listed companies. The carrier is targeting a profit between €210 million and €250m (Dh848m-Dh1bn) this year as it plans to increase its fleet by 10 aircraft. The airline expects available seat kilometres, a measure of capacity, to rise by 12 per cent to 14 per cent this year. Flights have resumed at an Istanbul airport after three people were killed when a Turkish plane skidded off the runway. Sabiha Gokcen Airport restarted operations at around 4am local time (1am GMT), though delays and cancellations are continuing. The Boeing 737 operated by low-cost Pegasus Airline landed from Izmir on Turkey's western coast during strong winds and heavy rain on Wednesday. A plane descends to land at the airport, after it reopened following the incident (Emrah Gurel/AP) It overshot the runway and skidded about 60 metres, before it dropped into a ditch and broke into three parts. A total of 180 people were injured, with four said to have "significant" injuries. The plane was 11 years old, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24. Pegasus Airlines changed its logo on Twitter to a blackened version in a sign of mourning, and said its "priority is to support the relatives and friends who have lost loved ones". The plane broke into three parts when it plunged into a ditch at the end of the runway (Emrah Gurel/AP) Police guarded the wreckage on Thursday morning. Another Pegasus Airlines plane skidded off the runway at the same airport in Istanbul on January 7, causing the temporary closure of the airport. There were no injuries. In January 2018, another Boeing 737 in the Pegasus fleet slid off a runway at Trabzon Airport in north-eastern Turkey. The plane came to rest just above the Black Sea with its nose pointed towards the water. No-one was injured.