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