Turkish Airlines Airbus A330 Scrapes Tail Departing Istanbul

  • Turkish Airlines A330

    Turkish Airlines

    IATA / ICAO Code:
    TK / THY

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub (s):
    Istanbul Airport

    Year Founded:
    1933

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Bilal Ekşi

    Country:
    Turkey

A Turkish Airlines aircraft was forced to return to Istanbul following a tail strike on departure. The Airbus A330-300 was operating flight TK726 from Istanbul Airport (IST) to Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The aircraft (TC-JOG) circled over Northern Turkey for more than four hours to burn off fuel, before landing safely back on runway 35R at Istanbul Airport at around 00:40. A post-flight inspection identified minor damage to the underside of the aircraft’s tail, and the aircraft was subsequently grounded.

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A replacement Airbus A330-300, TC-JOB, was brought in to operate flight TK726, which later departed safely for Kathmandu with a delay of over six hours. The flight’s route and backtracking to Istanbul can be clearly seen on FlightRadar24.com:

Flight TK726 circled above Northern Turkey for several hours before returning to Istanbul. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Flight TK726 is a scheduled flight from Istanbul to Kathmandu. Turkish Airlines operates the flight three or four times per week, depending on the season, with its Airbus A330-300 aircraft. TK726 is scheduled to depart Istanbul at 20:20 and arrive in Kathmandu at 06:15 the following day.

What is a tail strike? Find out more here.

TC-JOG – a Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-300

According to ch-aviation.com, TC-JOG was delivered new to Turkish Airlines in April 2015, making the aircraft almost seven and a half years old. Turkish Airlines has a total of 37 Airbus A330-300s in its fleet, with each aircraft seating a total of 289 in a two-class configuration – 28 in business class and 261 in economy class.

Turkish Airlines flies its Airbus A330-300s on a wide variety of different routes worldwide. In the two days prior to flight TK726, the aircraft had operated flights between Istanbul and Barcelona (BCN), Bangkok (BKK), Berlin (BER), and Vienna (VIE).

Since April 2019, when all scheduled commercial flights were moved across from Atatürk Airport, Turkish Airlines has been based at Istanbul Airport. Last year, Istanbul Airport served over 37 million passengers, making it the busiest airport in Europe. Twenty-six million of these passengers were traveling internationally, putting the airport in second place worldwide for international traffic, behind Dubai International Airport (DXB).


Flight TK726 to Kathmandu

Tuesday night’s tail strike is not the first time that flight TK726 has been involved in an incident. In March 2015, an Airbus A330-300 operating the same flight from Istanbul overshot the runway after landing amid dense fog in Kathmandu. Luckily, there were no fatalities among the 224 passengers and 11 crew members onboard, however the aircraft was subsequently written off due to the damage it had sustained.

Flight TK726 departed Istanbul Airport (seen here) on Tuesday night, bound for Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: Istanbul Airport

In what is so far shaping up to be a particularly unlucky week for the airline, another Turkish Airlines Airbus A330 made the news on Monday. Flight TK537 encountered severe turbulence on landing into Conakry, Guinea, resulting in five passengers being taken to hospital.

Simple Flying has reached out to Turkish Airlines for comment and will update this article with any reply.

Has an aircraft that you have been flying on suffered a tail strike? Share your experiences by commenting below.

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