Turkish Airlines has some really interesting ‘fifth freedom’ routes — flights between two countries other than their home country. Last I checked they were fourth in the world for number of destinations served, and they served the most countries at 110.
Here’s a fifth freedom route I didn’t know about: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The flight operates 3 times a week in each direction.
It’s a continuing flight to and from Istanbul.
It is still unclear what necessitated the emergency landing. A technical glitch or bad weather is suspected to have forced the passenger airplane to land in Irkutsk – one of the largest cities in Siberia.
The Russian news agency Interfax reported the plane refuelled in the Russian city. None of the passengers left the aircraft.
What makes this noteworthy of course is the current tensions between Turkey and Russia. Turkey shot down a Russian plane for entering Turkish airspace. Yet here a Turkish plane made an unscheduled landing in Russia. The two aren’t close to the same of course, the Turkish military shot down a Russian military jet that had entered Turkish airspace without permission. And Russia has had experience with negative international repercussions over confusing a civilian jetliner with a spy plane. Nonetheless, it’s good to see this very normal aviation incident resolved… normally.
And I was fascinated to learn that the flight existed.