Tupolev Tu-214 made its first commercial flight after a long hiatus

On the evening of 2 February 2024, Sochi airport received a Tu-214 aircraft, which performed the first commercial flight after a long break in the operation of this type of aircraft by Russian airlines.

Red Wings Airlines’ RA-64518 had a load factor of more than 90 per cent. Passengers noted the liner’s spacious cabin, friendly and caring crew and comfortable flight. The journey time from Zhukovsky to Adler took just over three hours. Traditionally, the airport welcomed the aircraft with a water arch.

Red Wings’ fleet is based on Superjets with a 98-100 seat cabin layout, and the introduction of the Ty-214 on the airline’s routes allows the airline to almost double the volume of passenger traffic where SSJ100s were used. Expansion of the fleet with Tu-204/214 aircraft will allow the airline to carry more passengers over longer distances, eliminating problems with leasing and payments in foreign currency. At the same time, the efficiency of SuperJet 100 aircraft utilisation increases, the airline said.

“The appearance of Ty-214 on the route allows us to practically double the volume of passenger traffic on a particular Red Wings route. After the modernisation we actually received a unique aircraft with a new cabin, which is designed for 194 passenger seats. Our focus is on comfort for passengers and flight crew,” commented the resumption of flights on Tu-214 in Red Wings.

Tu-214 RA-64518. Take-off at Zhukovsky Airport / Photo by © Aviation of Russia website

From February 7, the airline will start a programme of flights from Domodedovo to Yerevan and Batumi, and later to Tel Aviv. In 2023, the airline’s passenger traffic grew by 23 per cent compared to 2022 with 25,159 flights. A total of about 2.723 million passengers used its services in 2023, the vast majority – more than 2.190 million – on international flights and 531,500 on domestic flights. The most popular routes were from Moscow to Yerevan, Alma-Ata, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and back, as well as flights from Ekaterinburg to Kazakhstan and across Russia.

In 2024, Red Wings expects to receive a Tu-204 aircraft, which has already been previously operated by the airline between 2008 and 2018. The RA-64043 is currently undergoing airworthiness restoration procedures. In recent years, the Tu-214 has primarily been operated by the special flight detachment “Russia,” used for government delegations and official purposes.”