The plane that crashed into the Black Sea on 25th December, costing the lives of all 92 people aboard - mostly musicians and singers from the renowned Red Army Choir - was a Tupolev Tu-154, belonging to the Russian Defence Ministry. The civilian airliner belonged to a family of planes first developed by the Soviet aircraft manufacturer in the 60s that began service in 1972.
With its T-shaped tail-plane and three engines at the rear of the fuselage, the Tu-154 bears a striking resemblance to the Boeing 727, eight years its elder. The mid-haul plane, accommodating up to 175 passengers, can fly a distance of 4,000 km at 900km/h.
Over 900 models of the Tu-154 were built, in many different versions, and exported to some 30 countries over 40 years. Its production finally stopped in 2013, after orders gradually diminished from the year 2000.
In the wake of last month’s accident, all Tu-154s have been grounded until the origins of the crash – that took place just 70 seconds after take off – are established. Its black boxes are being analysed.