Russian carrier Red Wings has started deploying its restored Tupolev Tu-214 on international routes, with a service to the Armenian capital Yerevan on 7 February.

The aircraft was operated on the Moscow Zhukovsky-Sochi route on 2 February after the carrier took delivery of the twinjet on 28 December.

Registered RA-64518, the jet is not new – it was delivered originally to Transaero in 2009 – but it has undergone restoration as part of efforts to provide domestically-built aircraft to Russian carriers, while international sanctions remain in place.

Federal air transport regulator Rosaviatsia says the aircraft had been in storage at Kazan for about seven years.

It has been modernised with a cabin refit, and is configured with 194 seats in a single-class layout.

Prior to its re-introduction to Red Wings, the aircraft was granted a certificate of airworthiness on 20 December and regional Rosaviatsia specialists carried out a test flight on 30 January.

Red Wings says the aircraft will be used initially on the Moscow Domodedovo-Yerevan route but will also operate services to Batumi in Georgia and Tel Aviv in Israel.

“Ground services at Domodedovo have undergone appropriate training and are ready to handle the Tu-214,” it adds.

Red Wings Tu-214-c-Red Wings

Source: Red Wings

Red Wings held a ceremony marking introduction of the restored Tu-214

Tu-214s had been withdrawn from passenger service, and were being used only by special Russian government divisions for transporting delegations.

“This is a good and reliable domestic aircraft,” says Red Wings fleet management director Ekaterina Rukhlova. “Passengers will be very comfortable, and we will be able to increase the [service] for them on international routes.”

The carrier says access to the larger twinjet means it can double the capacity on routes operated by its Yakovlev Superjet 100s, which have 98-100 seats.

Rukhlova adds that the carrier is recording data from the Tu-214, along with suggestions from technicians, and passing them to aerospace firm United Aircraft, “so that each subsequent aircraft will be better”.

Red Wings is also expecting to add a Tu-204 this year which, like the Tu-214, is being modernised and restored to operation.

The carrier says the aircraft was operated by the company over the course of 2008-18 before being placed in storage.

Russian aerospace firm United Aircraft states that a Tu-204 was test-flown from Ulyanovsk, where the jet had been stored, on 31 January. It has yet to confirm whether this aircraft is destined for Red Wings.