Tabriz Feather: Eram Air
I am a major fan not only of Chinese airlines but also obscure airlines so an obscure Chinese airline is surely too good to pass up, especially when it has been represented in 400 scale twice by, that other lover of obscure airliners, Aeroclassics. Air Great Wall was one of many small airlines that appeared after the decentralisation of the Chinese air carrier market, but although some smaller carriers would grow into majors many others were swallowed up by the big three.
Birch Tree: Samara Airlines
Pork for Planes: Sichuan's TU-154s
Although the PLAAF and its China United subsidiary would get the first 4 TU-154s in China the CAAC itself would acquire some of this first batch of TU-154s too. In fact it got the lion's share with thirteen aircraft joining in 1985/86. They didn't remain with the CAAC for very long however due to the changes afoot in the Chinese industry.
CUA Tupolevs: 154s in China Pt1
Obscure Russians 3: MAVIAL Magadan
DPRK Trijets: Air Koryo's TU-154s
North Korea is a repugnant state, which if the world were at all run by decent minded people wouldn't exist. However even though they are happy to destroy their own citizens and threaten war constantly one group they seem to love (rather ironically considering how most of the rest of the world hates them) is planespotters!
Seems like you can get a great spotting trip to North Korea and fly in and photograph classic Russian birds as much as you like. Check out the tours for 2015 here. Tempting but difficult to marry up with my scruples! Anyway Air Koryo is an interesting airline.
Pulkovo: Russia's No 3 Airline
Pulkovo Federal State Unified Aviation Service Company (“Пулково”) was formed from Aeroflot’s St Petersburg division in 1992 and was fully government owned. It operated St Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport as well as the airline which was the third largest in Russia by the late 1990s.
Initially operating in Aeroflot’s colours it began to rebrand in 1997 and became a fairly common sight at European airports.
The Tupolev Tu-154 was a rugged and effective aircraft for the often primitive operating environment found at many Soviet-era airports, especially during the Russian winter. However by the early 2000s the type was obsolete, although lack of funds and high tariffs on importing Western equipment kept the later TU-154Ms in service well beyond their use by dates, even with Aeroflot. That was a big bonus for enthusiasts as the type was one of only two Russian aircraft (the other is the IL-96), until the recent Sukhoi Superjet, to get into the beautiful 2003 era colours of the national airline and its affiliates.
February 1946 saw the initiation of services by the joint Soviet/Romanian airline TARS which was renamed TAROM in 1954 when the Romanians became full owners. TAROM was unusual amongst Warsaw Pact nations in that it was able to purchase western types (though LOT did have Viscounts). This followed the 1965 coming to power of Nicolae Ceausescu who conducted Romania's foreign policy independently of Russia - not taking part in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, establishing diplomatic ties with Israel and West Germany etc. Needless to say Ceausescu's moderate start didn't last but that's another topic.
Within aviation Romania's new independence first became visible in 1968 when One-elevens were ordered for European and Middle-Eastern destinations instead of TU-134s.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: