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Owned by the Turkish businessman Cetin Birgen, Birgenair operated charter flights from Western Europe to several Turkish holiday destinations, initially with DC-8 aircraft. Later it served the Turkish-German Discount travel and tourism Company Öger Tours for flights from Germany to the Caribbean with Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft.
Massive negative publicity about Birgenair and other discount flight organizers in Germany following the disaster mentioned below caused a sharp decline in reservations, and finally the company went into bankruptcy and closed later that same year, 1996.
Accidents and incidents
On 6 February 1996, Birgenair Flight 301 was bound for Frankfurt, Germany but crashed shortly after take-off from Puerto Plata Airport in the Dominican Republic into Atlantic Ocean 26 kilometres off-shore. All 176 passengers and 13 crew members, among them 154 Germans and 9 Polish people died, presumably instantantly. It was found that one of the air speed indicators of the Boeing 757-225 was not working properly due to a mud dauber wasp having made a nest in a pitot tube, confusing the pilots about whether the plane's speed was too fast or too slow. The black box, data recorder pointed to error by the captain, because instead of measuring the air speed through one of the working air speed indicators he continued to use the faulty indicator and did not return to the airport. The aircraft was leased due to a problem on the scheduled aircraft for the flight.
- 2 Boeing 737-300
- 3 Boeing 757-200 (1 crashed in 1996, its registration was TC-GEN)
- 1 Boeing 767-200
- 1 McDonnell Douglas DC-10
- 60 Flight International. 29 March-4 April 1995 World Airline Directory.
Media related to Birgenair at Wikimedia Commons
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