The end of an era as the country’s last commercially operated Tu-154 conducts its final flight
Russia’s last civil Tupolev Tu-154 flew its final passenger flight yesterday (Oct 28), with a service between the Far Eastern town of Mirny and Novosibirsk in Western Siberia.
The 28-year-old trijet, RA-85757 (c/n 92A939) was operated by Mirny-based Alrosa a subsidiary of a diamond mining company bearing the same name.
In a statement, Alrosa said: “We are saddened to announce the end of operations of the only remaining Tu-154 aircraft in Russia’s civil aviation.
“A whole era of national aircraft construction is ending with this legendary aircraft,” the statement added.
The type is believed to have been operated by the carrier since June 24, 2002, and “remains one of the most reliable and fastest” in its fleet.
Capable of operating from unpaved and gravel strips with only basic facilities, the Tu-154 was used extensively in the extreme Arctic conditions found in northern and eastern regions of Russia.
With specifications similar to the Boeing 727, the Russian example first flew on October 4, 1968, more than five years after its American counterpart. Over 1,000 examples were built during a production run that spanned from 1968 until 2013.
Yesterday’s final service – which carried 140 passengers – was operated by four experienced crew members including two pilots, a flight engineer, and a navigator.
The airframe is expected to remain at Tolmachevo Airport in Novosibirsk until a decision can be made about its future.