LONDON – It is an end of an era for the Tupolev TU-154 as the last civil airframe completed its final commercial flight today. RA-85757, the aircraft in question, operated for Alrosa Airlines (6R), with the final flight taking place between Mirny (MJZ) and Novosibirsk (OVB).
According to The Siberian Times, Pilots Alexander Leshkevich and Nikolai Voroshilov operated the final flight, with the media outlet acquiring footage of its last departure from MJZ.
About RA-85757… And Alrosa
RA-85757 is 28 years old, having been produced in November 1992 and delivered to Alrosa in 2002, around two years after the airline had been founded. It often frequented the Irkutsk (IRK)-Mirny (MJZ) service as 6R541/542, offering scheduled and chartered domestic flights. This comes as no surprise given the callsign of Alrosa is “Mirny”.
Alrosa currently has a fleet size of six aircraft, being two Boeing 737-700s and four Boeing 737-800s. The -700s feature just a one-class configuration of 136 seats in Economy, with the -800s offering 12 in Business and 144 seats in Economy.
In terms of replacements for the TU-154, the airline is due to receive three Irkut MC-21-300s in 2023 as well as two Sukhoi SuperJet 100s, which yet haven’t been given a delivery date.
The End of an Era
The TU-154 coming out of service, especially from the Alrosa family becomes something that is quite the end of an era. A versatile, reliable tri-jet aircraft that only had one incident in the 6R company.
This was on September 7, 2010, when one of the airframes suffered a complete in-flight electrical failure while on a scheduled domestic flight, resulting in a successful emergency landing.
Other than that, Alrosa has had no issues with this aircraft to date, also highlighting how successful it was in the fleet.
Sad to See TU-154 Go
As far as pure old-school Russian engineering goes, the TU-154 ticked all of the sufficient boxes for this. This behemoth of a gas-guzzler provided a lot of interconnectivity within Russia and to destinations across Europe.
It will be sad to see this aircraft go, but if anything, there is considerable levels of excitement in the industry about the Irkut MC-21-300, which however differently shaped it is, it will provide more of a game-changing environment for those flying in Russia.
In the meantime, all we can hope is that the aircraft will be preserved by the airline in a museum or is kept in storage without being torn apart, because this was definitely a true part of Russia’s heritage when it came to aircraft production.
Featured Image: Tail of the Alrosa Airlines Tupolev TU-154. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons