01:50 GMT +3 hours29 November 2014
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Russia's Aeroflot retires legendary Tu-154 'Careless'

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Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot has finally taken the Tu-154M airliner (NATO reporting name Careless), out of service after decades in operation, the company said on Thursday.

Russia's flagship carrier Aeroflot has finally taken the Tu-154M airliner (NATO reporting name Careless), out of service after decades in operation, the company said on Thursday.

The Tu-154, which made its last flight on December 31, from Yekaterinburg to Moscow, will be replaced with the A320.

Aeroflot had a fleet of 23 Tu-154s.

This may not be the end of the Tu-154 in Russia yet, however. Spokesperson Irina Dannenberg said some of the decommissioned airliners could be sold to other operators. It is not known how many are still in service with other airlines.

The Tu-154, a medium-haul trijet airliner, was designed in the mid 1960s and entered service in 1970.

It has for decades been the workhorse of Soviet and Russian airlines, carrying around half of Aeroflot's passengers during the Soviet era.

The aircraft has been exported to and operated by about 17 non-Russian airlines.

With a cruising speed of 975 kmh, the Tu-154 was one of the fastest civilian aircraft in operation and had a range of 5,280 km.

With a service life of 45,000 hours, but capable of 80,000 with upgrades, the aircraft was expected to last until 2016, although noise restrictions have seen services to western Europe and other areas scaled down in recent years.

MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti)