This one sneaked up on me a bit. If you’d asked me where you could fly the Tupolev TU-154, I’d have probably volunteered ‘Iran’ as my first choice, given that a number are used on domestic routes there and they were relatively easy to get a flight on.
But having read this report http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/article.php?section=air-transport&article=iran-to-introduce-its-own-regional-aircraft-as-tu-154-ban-begins I realise that the classic Russian three-holer is coming to the end of it’s days.
To summarize the report, the Iranian government has issued a ban on the use of TU-154 aircraft from 19th February 2011 owing to the type’s poor safety record there. In fact, 10% of all TU-154 crashes have been with Iranian carriers. So now this confines the type to some other harder-to-reach places and the likes of Iran are turning to new IR-140 aircraft (and licensed build of the AN-140) to get by its sanctions and heavy use of domestic flying. It’s a sad time for aircraft fans, but I guess it’s in the name of safety. Let’s hope that it works.
Out of interest, there’s a new book out which lists the rarer types of airliner to fly, including the TU-154, and which airlines fly them. It’s called ‘Last Chance to Fly’ by Destinworld Publishing.