Tupolev Tu-154 | incidents and accidents

Incidents and accidents

Between 1970 and December 2016 there have been 110 serious incidents involving the Tu-154,[35] and 69 hull losses, 30 of which did not involve fatalities.[36] Of the fatal incidents, five resulted from terrorist or military terrorist action (two other wartime losses were non fatal), several from poor runway conditions in winter (including one in which the airplane struck snow plows on the runway), cargo overloading in the lapse of post-Soviet federal safety standards, and mid-air collisions due to faulty air traffic control. Other incidents resulted from mechanical problems (two cases prior to 2001), running out of fuel on unscheduled routes, pilot errors (including inadequate flight training for new crews), and cargo fires; several accidents remain unexplained.

The Tu-154 is described as having an average (or better than expected) safety record considering its length of service and heavy use in demanding conditions where other airliners are unable to operate.[5] On January 2, 2011, Russia's Federal Transport Oversight Agency advised airlines to stop using remaining examples of the Tu-154 (B variant) until the fatal fire incident in Surgut had been investigated.[37] Its operation in Iran ceased in February 2011 due to a number of crashes and incidents involving the type (almost 9% of all Tu-154 losses have occurred in Iran). This grounding compounded the effects of US embargo on civil aircraft parts, substantially decreasing the number of airworthy aircraft in the Iranian civil fleet.[38] In 2010 there were two fatal losses of the Tu-154 due to pilot error and/or weather conditions (a Polish presidential jet attempting a rural airfield landing in heavy fog, the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash, and a Russian-registered plane that suffered engine stall after a crew member accidentally de-activated a fuel transfer pump). Following these accidents, in March 2011 the Russian Federal Bureau of Aviation recommended a withdrawal of remaining Tu-154Ms from service.[39] In December 2010, Uzbekistan Airways also declared that it will cease to operate Tu-154s from 2011.[40]

On 27 December 2016, the Russian Defence Ministry grounded all Tu-154s in Russia pending investigation into the 25 December 2016 Tupolev Tu-154 crash which killed 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, an official Red Army Choir of the Russian Armed Forces.[31][32]


Date Tail number Aircraft type Location Fatalities Description Refs
19 February 1973 CCCP-85023 Tu-154 Czech Republic Ruzyne International Airport 66/100 Aeroflot Flight 141 crashed 467 m (1,532 ft) short of the runway; the cause was not determined. [41]
7 May 1973 CCCP-85030 Tu-154 Soviet Union Vnukovo Airport 0/6 Force-landed during a training flight following loss of engine power and severe vibrations after the aircraft took off with the inner spoilers deployed. [42]
10 July 1974 SU-AXB Tu-154 Egypt Cairo International Airport 6/6 Stalled and crashed during a training flight. [43]
30 September 1975 HA-LCI Tu-154A Lebanon Beirut 60/60 Malév Flight 240 crashed in the sea on final approach in clear weather, allegedly shot down by one or two air-to-air missiles fired by either IDF or SDF forces. [44]
1 June 1976 CCCP-85102 Tu-154A Equatorial Guinea Bioko 46/46 Aeroflot Flight 418 crashed into a mountain on final approach; radar failure was blamed. [45]
1976 CCCP-85020 Tu-154 Soviet Union Kiev 0 Rough landing, written off. This aircraft is now in the Ukraine Government Museum of Aviation. [46]
2 December 1977 LZ-BTN Tu-154A Libya near Benghazi 59/165 Crashed due to fuel exhaustion while searching for an alternate airport after diverting due to fog. The aircraft was leased from Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. [47]
23 March 1978 LZ-BTB Tu-154B Syria near Damascus 4/4 Crashed into high ground on final approach. [48]
19 May 1978 CCCP-85169 Tu-154B Soviet Union near Maksatikha 4/134 Aeroflot Flight 6709 crashed in a field after all three engines failed after the flight engineer accidentally shut off the automatic transferring of fuel of the sump tank. [49]
30 June 1979 P-551 Tu-154B Hungary Ferihegy International Airport 0 A Choson Minhang charter flight stalled while landing due to pilot error. The right landing gear collapsed and the right wing hit the ground, sustaining damage to the wing structure. The aircraft was subsequently repaired and returned to service. [50]
1 March 1980 CCCP-85103 Tu-154A Soviet Union Orenburg Airport 0/161 Landed hard and broke in two after the crew deviated from the glide path while on approach. [51]
8 July 1980 CCCP-85355 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Alma-Ata 166/166 Aeroflot Flight 4225 stalled and crashed on climb out after entering a downdraft. This accident remains the worst in Kazakhstan. [52]
7 August 1980 YR-TPH Tu-154B-1 Mauritania Nouadhibou Airport 1/168 Ditched 300 m (980 ft) short of the runway. [53]
8 October 1980 CCCP-85321 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Chita Airport 0/184 Landed hard after coming in too high. [54] photo
13 June 1981 CCCP-85029 Tu-154 Soviet Union Bratsk Airport 0 Overran the runway on landing and broke in two. [55]
21 October 1981 HA-LCF Tu-154B Czech Republic Ruzyne Airport 0/81 Malev Flight 641 crashed on the runway and broke in two after deploying the spoilers at low altitude following a too-high approach. [56]
16 November 1981 CCCP-85480 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Norilsk Airport 99/167 Aeroflot Flight 3603 crashed 470 m short of runway due to overloading and crew error. [57]
11 October 1984 CCCP-85243 Tu-154B-1 Soviet Union Omsk Airport 4+174/179 Aeroflot Flight 3352 crashed after colliding with maintenance vehicles on the runway due to ATC error. ATC personnel received prison sentences of 12–15 years. This accident is the second deadliest in Soviet history and remains the deadliest on Russian soil. [58]
23 December 1984 CCCP-85338 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Krasnoyarsk Airport 110/111 Aeroflot Flight 3519 crashed following double engine failure and in-flight fire. [59]
10 July 1985 CCCP-85311 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Uchkuduk 200/200 Aeroflot Flight 7425 stalled and crashed due to crew errors and fatigue. This accident is the deadliest in Soviet history, the deadliest in Uzbekistan, and deadliest accident involving the Tu-154. [60]
21 May 1986 CCCP-85327 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Domodedovo 0 Deformation of fuselage due to crew errors during flight after the crew forgot to turn on the pitot heating system. [61]
18 January 1988 CCCP-85254 Tu-154B-1 Soviet Union Krasnovodsk Airport 11/143 Broke in three following a heavy landing. [62]
8 March 1988 CCCP-85413 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Veshchevo 9/84 Aeroflot Flight 3739 was hijacked by the Ovechkin family. [63]
24 September 1988 CCCP-85479 Tu-154B-2 Syria Aleppo Airport 0/168 Landed hard and left the runway after encountering light turbulence on approach. [64]
13 January 1989 CCCP-85067 Tu-154S Liberia Roberts International Airport 0 Overran runway and crashed following a rejected takeoff due to shifting cargo and overloading. [65]
9 February 1989 YR-TPJ Tu-154B-2 Romania Bucharest 5/5 Crashed on takeoff due to engine failure during a training flight. [66]
20 October 1990 CCCP-85268 Tu-154B-2 Soviet Union Kutaisi Airport 0/171 Failed to takeoff and overran runway due to overloading and center of gravity problems; written off. [67]
17 November 1990 CCCP-85664 Tu-154M Czech Republic near Velichovky 0/6 Force-landed following a fire in the cargo hold and broke apart on landing. [68]
23 May 1991 CCCP-85097 Tu-154B-1 Soviet Union Pulkovo Airport 2+13/178 Landed hard short of the runway, collapsing the right landing gear and broke apart after coming in too fast in rain. [69]
14 September 1991 CU-T1227 Tu-154B-2 Mexico Benito Juarez International Airport 0/112 Cubana Flight 464 landed too late and overran the runway due to pilot error and poor visibility. [70]
5 June 1992 LZ-BTD Tu-154B Bulgaria Varna Airport 0/130 Landed too late and overran the runway in bad weather. [71]
June 1992 RA-85282 Tu-154B-1 Russia Bratsk Airport 0/0 Burned out during refueling. A second Tu-154 (RA-85234) also burned out. [72][73]
20 July 1992 85222 Tu-154B Georgia (country) Tbilisi 4+24/24 Failed to take off due to overloading and center of gravity problems, overran the runway, striking the localizer building, and ended up in a ravine. [74]
1 August 1992 YA-TAP Tu-154M Afghanistan Kabul Airport 0/0 Destroyed during a mortar attack. The aircraft had been parked at the airport for repairs following an incident three months earlier. [75]
5 September 1992 CCCP-85269 Tu-154B-1 Ukraine Borispol Airport 0/147 Emergency landing after the left main landing gear failed to extend. [76]
13 October 1992 CCCP-85528 Tu-154B-2 Russia Vladivostok Airport 0/67 Failed to take off and overran the runway due to overloading and center of gravity problems. [77]
5 December 1992 CCCP-85105 Tu-154A Armenia Yerevan Airport 0/154 Veered off the runway on landing after the pilot mistook the runway edge lights for the centerline lights. [78]
9 January 1993 85533 Tu-154B-2 India Indira Gandhi International Airport 0/165 Indian Airlines Flight 840 crashed on landing after striking some installations next to the runway; the tail and right wing later separated and the aircraft came to rest upside down. The aircraft was leased from Uzbekistan Airways due to a pilot strike at Indian Airlines. [79]
8 February 1993 EP-ITD Tu-154M Iran near Tehran 2+131/131 Mid-air collision. [80]
Unknown Su-24
22 September 1993 85163 Tu-154B Georgia (country) Babusheri Airport 108/132 Shot down and crashed on the runway. The accident remains the worst in Georgia. [81]
23 September 1993 85359 Tu-154B-2 Georgia (country) Babusheri Airport Unknown Written off after suffering damage from mortar or artillery fire. [82]
25 December 1993 RA-85296 Tu-154B-2 Russia Grozny Airport 0/172 Nosegear collapsed after landing in bad weather. [83]
3 January 1994 RA-85656 Tu-154M Russia near Mamony 1+124/124 Baikal Airlines Flight 130 crashed after an in-flight fire that started in the number two engine, caused by a starter failure. [84]
6 June 1994 B-2610 Tu-154M China Xian 160/160 China Northwest Airlines Flight 2303 broke apart in mid-air and crashed shortly after takeoff due to a maintenance error. The crash remains the worst in China. [85]
21 January 1995 UN-85455 Tu-154B-2 Pakistan Karachi 0/117 Failed to take off and overran the runway due to overloading. [86]
7 December 1995 RA-85164 Tu-154B Russia near Khabarovsk 98/98 Khabarovsk United Air Group Flight 3949 crashed into a mountain following a loss of control after fuel was selected from the left wing tanks to counter a left wing-low attitude. [87]
29 August 1996 RA-85621 Tu-154M Norway Operafjellet 141/141 Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801 crashed into a mountain on final approach due to navigation errors. This accident remains the worst in Norway. [88]
13 September 1997 11+02 Tu-154M Namibia off Namibia 33/33 German Air Force Flight 074 collided in mid-air with a USAF C-141 due to pilot and ATC errors. [89][90]
65-9405 C-141
15 December 1997 EY-85281 Tu-154B-1 United Arab Emirates Sharjah 85/86 Tajikistan Airlines Flight 3183 crashed in the desert due to pilot error and crew fatigue. [91]
29 August 1998 CU-T1264 Tu-154M Ecuador Quito 10+70/91 Cubana de Aviación Flight 389 failed to take off and overran the runway, crashing into a soccer field. Following problems before takeoff, the crew had forgotten to select the switches for the hydraulic valves of the control system. [92]
24 February 1999 B-2622 Tu-154M China Ruian 61/61 China Southwest Airlines Flight 4509 lost control and crashed after incorrect nuts in the elevator control system fell off, due to improper maintenance. China removed the Tu-154 from service following this accident. [93]
4 July 2000 HA-LCR Tu-154B-2 Greece Thessaloniki 0/76 Malév Flight 262 touched down wheels-up while landing and skidded on runway, but was able to take off and land normally after a go-around. [94]
4 July 2001 RA-85845 Tu-154M Russia Burdakovka 145/145 Vladivostok Air Flight 352 stalled and crashed on final approach due to pilot error. [95]
4 October 2001 RA-85693 Tu-154M Black Sea off Sochi 78/78 Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 was accidentally shot down by an errant Ukrainian S-200 surface-to-air missile. [96]
12 February 2002 EP-MBS Tu-154M Iran near Sarab-e Do Rah 119/119 Iran Air Tours Flight 956 struck a mountain on approach. [97]
20 February 2002 EP-LBX Tu-154M Iran Mashhad International Airport 0 Landed hard, suffering substantial damage. The aircraft was ferried to Vnukovo for repairs where the nose gear collapsed while the aircraft was being towed. The aircraft was written off and used for spare parts. [98]
1 July 2002 RA-85816 Tu-154M Germany over Überlingen 2+69/69 Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 collided in mid-air with DHL Flight 611 due to errors of communication between instruction from ATC and Traffic collision avoidance system. [99][100]
A9C-DHL 757-200
24 August 2004 RA-85556 Tu-154B-2 Russia near Gluboki 46/46 Sibir Airlines Flight 1047 crashed after it was bombed in mid-air by a suicide bomber, along with a Tu-134 on the same day. [101]
22 August 2006 RA-85185 Tu-154M Ukraine near Donetsk 170/170 Pulkovo Airlines Flight 612 stalled and crashed after the crew attempted to fly over a storm front. The aircraft entered turbulence and later stalled. The aircraft entered a flat spin and then struck the ground. [102]
1 September 2006 EP-MCF Tu-154M Iran Mashhad International Airport 28/148 Iran Air Tours Flight 945 suffered a mishap while landing, possibly due to a blown nosegear tire. The aircraft swerved off the runway. [103]
30 June 2008 RA-85667 Tu-154M Russia Pulkovo Airport 0/112 The number one engine suffered an uncontained failure during takeoff and takeoff was aborted. The aircraft was parked at Pulkovo Airport after the incident and was broken up in August 2009. [104]
15 July 2009 EP-CPG Tu-154M Iran near Qazvin 168/168 Caspian Airlines Flight 7908 lost control and crashed following an engine fire. [105]
24 January 2010 RA-85787 Tu-154M Iran Mashhad International Airport 0/170 Taban Air Flight 6437 crashed on landing after the captain declared a medical emergency due to a seriously ill passenger on board. The aircraft was leased from Kolavia. [106]
10 April 2010 101 Tu-154M Russia near Smolensk 96/96 Crashed on final approach in thick fog on an airfield without ILS. Polish President Lech Kaczyński and other high-ranking officials were on board and died in the crash. [107]
7 September 2010 RA-85684 Tu-154M Russia Izhma Airport 0/81 Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise Flight 514 made an emergency landing at a remote airfield after general electrical failure at 34,800 ft, overran the small runway and sustained minor damage with no injuries. In March 2011 it was flown back to Samara for structural inspection and rehabilitation. [108][109]
4 December 2010 RA-85744 Tu-154M Russia Domodedovo Airport 2/170 Dagestan Airlines Flight 372 made an emergency landing after two engines failed shortly after takeoff; full of fuel. Overran the runway and broke up into three. The accident investigation revealed that a crew member had mistakenly switched off a fuel transfer pump thereby causing fuel-starvation and subsequent engine flameout. [110]
1 January 2011 RA-85588 Tu-154B-2 Russia Surgut International Airport 3/124 Kolavia Flight 348 caught fire while taxiing for takeoff. [111]
25 December 2016 RA-85572 Tu-154B-2 Russia Black Sea, just off Sochi 92/92 Russian Defence Ministry flight crashed en route to Khmeimim, Syria, killing all 92 people (84 passengers and 8 crew members) on board, including 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, an official army choir of the Russian Armed Forces [112][113]
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