The last Tupolev TU-154 in passenger commercial service has landed for the final time, marking the end of an era.
Final Tupolev TU-154 Commercial Flight In Russia
Alrosa Airlines (6R) was the last civil operator of the TU-154, a tri-engine Russian aircraft that first flew in 1968 and entered service with Aeroflot in 1972. In 2013, the final TU-154 rolled off the assembly line. The final flight took place between Mirny (MJZ) and Novosibirsk (OVB) on October 28, 2020.
Farewell to the era as Russia’s last civil Tu-154 performs its final regular flight. Pilots Alexander Leshkevich & Nikolai Voroshilov safely brought 28 year old Alrosa Airlines RA-85757 plane from Mirny in Yakutia to Novosibirsk #Tu154 pic.twitter.com/Oc4fC8XqVw
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) October 28, 2020
The aircraft, RA-85757, was produced in 1992 and delivered to Alrosa in 2002. Alrosa now has a fleet exclusively of Boeing 737s, but will take delivery of three Irkut MC-21-300s (the Russian equivalent of the Airbus A320neo or Boeing 737 MAX) in 2023 and two two Sukhoi SuperJet 100s (think Airbus A220) at an unspecified time.
Are Any TU-154 Aircraft Still Operating?
Air Koryo, the flag carrier of North Korea, maintains two TU-154 in its fleet of very-vintage Soviet aircraft. But with so little information flowing out of the DPRK, it isn’t clear whether its TU-154 aircraft will ever fly again.
My TU-154 Experience
I flew on a TU-154 once, from St. Petersburg to Moscow on Aeroflot in 2007. I have pictures from the flight and sometime may do a “vintage” trip report. I also flew a Rossiya TU-134 on the trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Both flights were a cornerstone of my trip.
I remember when I visited Russia again in 2010 how Moscow Domodedovo was littered with TU-154. But much has changed in the last decade and the former workhorse of the Russian skies will now be put out to pasture.
It’s always sad to see a particular airframe retire, though I suppose the TU-154 was past its prime. With far more fuel efficient aircraft now available and a surplus of aircraft due to the pandemic, there was simply no need to keep it in service.
Have you ever flown the TU-154?
images: Artem Katranzhi / Wikimedia Commons
Would love another vintage trip report!
Also, is the Africa report from the beginning of the year still going ahead?
I’m so sorry about the Africa report. It has been such a busy month the Africa report has been getting pushed back. I hope to get back to it next month. You’re going to love it!
I for one would LOVE to see vintage trip reports for the TU-154 and TU-134…
It doesn’t have the best safety record by any means.
True. Poland’s version of Air Force One crashed killing the President. Usually when a president flies, they do extra things to make sure it’s safe. President Obama even had fighter jets when visiting Argentina because he either didn’t trust them after they invaded the Malvinas Islands and/or the Argentine air force has had so drastic cuts that their remaining propeller driven fighter jets have approximately the same capacity as World War II fighter jets.
I would look forward to Matthew’s eventual Tu-154 trip report.
This was way before the blog days so my pictures were limited, especially (and sadly) onboard the TU-134.
1968-2013… talk about a looong production run!
Nicknamed the “Seven Twenty Sevenski”.
I’m sure a few of these planes are still flying, and will continue quietly soldiering on occasionaly, with badly neglected maintenance, on sketchy missions in remote corners of the former USSR (and probably a few developing nations in Central Asia and Africa). It’s a big world out there and we have little visibility into much of it. That’s not a bad thing.
Except its a larger and longer-range aircraft.
I flew a T-154 twice, as a teen, routing on now defunct Malev FRA-BUD-FRA. Unlike western types, it felt like you were in some sort of mechanical beast. Noisy, but it felt FAST.
The production rate peaked at one aircraft every one and a half days. Very hardy but lacking a motion simulator, or CRM as a concept for that matter even after it was proven in the West. Basic things like unidirectional connectors hadn’t occurred to the designers. On one example during an unmothballing check, an avionics connector was plugged in upside down, causing the reverse effect from dampening, and during the post-check test flight the aircraft suffered severe Dutch roll. When I saw this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ1CIByTz24 followed by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM9UM33EKqY I couldn’t imagine it landing without damage. That it did is a positive testament, I suppose.
1992, Bombay to New Delhi, Tu-154M. Morning flight had just the right light to see shadows of the long plume of smoke trailing behind our plane from the 3 engines.