The state-owned airline Cubana de Aviación has recovered one of its four Tupolev Tu-204 jets. The single-aisle aircraft had been undergoing maintenance in Russia since 2019 and was sent days ago to Havana, the capital of the Caribbean country.
The jet with registration number CU-T1702 had been delivered by Ilyushin Financing Co. on a leasing basis along with another identical model, registration number CU-T1701, in 2007.
Both flew until 2016 when they were removed from service, reportedly due to a lack of spare parts. Cubana managed to put the Tu-204 CU-T1702 in flying condition in July 2019, the jet arrived in Ulyanovsk, where it was manufactured.
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Since then, the 186-seat aircraft has undergone heavy maintenance that appears to have been completed only in September, when the Tupolev returned to carry out check flights.
On September 17, the Tu-204 took off towards Reykjavik, Iceland, for a technical stopover, heading to Gander, Canada, for further refueling, until arriving in Havana the following day.
The aircraft was seen sporting a new Cubana paint scheme with a blue hue on the belly of the jet.
— Dion Faulkner (@Deltafox007) September 18, 2023
It is not yet clear what Cubana’s plans are for the recovered jet, but given the absence of aircraft in flying condition – there is only one active ATR, according to Planespotters – it is to be expected that the Tu-204 will soon be put into service shortly.
Cubana also has two Tu-204 freighters, received in the late 2000s and which have been out of service for several years.
Back to the assembly line
The Tu-204 is a single-aisle jet with capacity for up to 210 passengers powered by old PS-90 turbofans and has been in production since 1990 in small quantities.
The Tu-214 variant, produced by Aviastar, was once again in the plans of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) following Western trade sanctions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Under the plan, several Russian airlines ordered the aircraft to fill the gap opened by the ban on imports of Airbus and Boeing jets.