DALLAS – On January 8, a Tupolev Tu-204 from Russian carrier Aviastar-TU (4B) suffered a ground fire at Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport (HGH).

The fire spread rapidly while the aircraft was pushing back. Fortunately, the crew was safely evacuated. The aircraft’s fuselage was completely destroyed in the incident.

Aviastar-TU has a dozen aircraft in its fleet, including Boeing 757 freighters and the Tu-204. 4B operates charter cargo flights, mainly from Zhukovsky Airport (ZIA) near Moscow.

An Aviastar-TU Tupolev Tu-204 at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport in 2009. Photo: By Dejan Milinković – http://www.airliners.net/photo/Aviastar-Tu-Cargo/Tupolev-Tu-204C/1612447/L/, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17107969

Tupolev Tu-204 Previous Incident

On March 22, 2010, 4B Flight 1906, a Tupolev Tu-204, crashed while attempting to land in heavy fog at Domodedovo airport (DME) in Moscow, Russia.

Due to the airline’s lack of a spare aircraft, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, also known as Rosaviatsiya, enforced a passenger transport restriction following the occurrence of Flight 1906. Then, following the discovery of a number of flaws by European inspectors in November 2011, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) banned the airline from the EU territories for a month.

The Tu-204 took to the skies for the first time in 1989. It can carry up to 200 passengers, depending on the variants. Tupolev built the type to compete with the Airbus A321 and the Boeing 757. However, fewer than 100 aircraft were built, compared to more than 1,000 units for its European and American counterparts.

Only eight crewmembers were on board the freighter, making the evacuation easier.

The Incident at Hangzhou

According to FlightGlobal, the Tu-204-100S (Tu-204C), registration RA-64032, should have operated flight 6534 from HGH to Novosibirsk Airport (OVB) in Russia. While pushing back, a fire ensued that spread rapidly throughout the cabin and fuselage. Fortunately, all eight members of the crew managed to evacuate safely.

The emergency services came to the scene minutes after being called. However, the fire had already broken a part of the fuselage. They did not manage to put out the fire in time before it destroyed the entire aircraft. The rear fuselage was completely broken, and the Tupolev freighter was damaged beyond repair.

A fire on board an aircraft can be very dangerous, especially if it happens during a flight. Fortunately, no one was injured during the ground incident.

Featured image: By Jonas Satkauskas, aka Jsx at en.wikipedia – http://satkauskas.com, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18424419