Turkish Aircraft Makes Emergency Landing in Russia

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.

This flight made an emergency landing yesterday in Irkutsk, Russia.

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Flew IST/FRU Nov 2014. It’s a 737 configured like a us domestic. Turkish has fabulous customer service. Had a great meal and a small amenity kit, with footrests on the seats, all in coach. The drawback to the flight is you arrive in Bishkek in early am, about 3am local time if I remember right.

  2. I can figure out how to get from LAX to ICN or NRT via the Atlantic on a *A narrow body, but how can you get across the Pacific?

  3. @Justin Try the United (formerly Continental Micronesia) island hopper, from HNL-GUM on a 737 via some small islands. It’s only westbound though.

  4. Gary — Do you have another post or web resource that lists the other Turkish 5th Freedom flights?

    I would like to know of Turkish and any other carrier’s 5th Freedom flights and such a resource would be very helpful!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *