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Russia's Tu-154 Jet Completes Final Passenger Voyage

The Tu-154 was a flagship model of Soviet aviation but was also known for its high rate of accidents. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS

The Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft, a flagship model of Soviet aviation, flew its final passenger flight on Wednesday, Russian airline Alrosa said. 

The three-engine medium-haul aircraft carried out its first commercial flight in 1972, and was the workhorse of the Soviet and then Russian domestic aviation from the 1980s to the mid-2000s.

"We are saddened to announce the end of operations of the only remaining Tu-154 aircraft in Russia's civil aviation," Alrosa said in a statement.

This last commercial flight carried 140 passengers from the Far Eastern town of Mirny, known as Russia's "diamond capital," to Novosibirsk in Western Siberia.

"Thank you Tu-154..." Alrosa said in a video posted on social media.

"A whole era of national aircraft construction is ending with this legendary aircraft," the airline added.

Tupolev discontinued production of the model in 2013. A few of the aircraft are still operated by the Defense Ministry.

The aircraft is also known for its high rate of accidents, with 73 crashes leaving some 2,911 people dead, according the Aviation Safety Network.

In April 2010, a Tu-154 carrying 96 people including Polish President Lech Kaczynski crashed near Smolensk in western Russia leaving no survivors.

A Russian military Tu-154 bound for Syria in December 2016 crashed into the Black Sea shortly after taking off from the southern city of Sochi. 

Pilot error was ruled as the cause of the accident that killed all 92 passengers on board, including several members of the Red Army Choir.

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