Tupolev Tu-204 Cargo Plane Catches Fire In Hangzhou

This morning, an Aviastar Tupolev Tu-204-100C was up in flames at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, China. The freighter caught fire at the Zhejiang hub after being pushed back for a flight to Novosibirsk, Russia.

Aviastar Tu-204
The aircraft involved holds registration RA-64032. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

Burned down

The fire broke out in the Tu-204’s cabin as it prepared for flight 4B6534. Aviation24.be reports that crew members were able to safely evacuate the narrowbody in time, but rescue teams were unable to save the aircraft from destruction.

According to RadarBox.com, the unit had been hopping back and forth between Hangzhou and Novosibirsk in the weeks before the incident. There also had been trips to Kazan and Moscow. However, after landing in Hangzhou on January 8th, the twinjet never made its way back to Novosibirsk.

RadarBox Aviastar Tu-204
Flight 4B6534 / TUP6533 took off from Novosibirsk at 20:49 NOVT on January 7th and landed in Hangzhou at 03:22 CST the following morning. Photo: RadarBox.com

An official statement

The CAAC East China Regional Administration has since shared details of the fire. Nonetheless, inquiries are still ongoing.

“At 4:36 on January 8, 2022, the outbound flight Aerostar 4B6534 (Hangzhou Xiaoshan-Novosibirsk Machevo Airport, Russia, the model is Tu-204) departing from Gate 204 of Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport will launch the aircraft before it is ready to take off. When an open fire broke out in the cabin, Hangzhou Airport immediately initiated emergency procedures to organize the fire and emergency departments to rush to the scene for rescue,” the CAAC East China Regional Administration shared in a statement.

“The eight crew members on board have been evacuated. After receiving the report, the CAAC East China Regional Administration immediately initiated a secondary emergency response. The Zhejiang Regulatory Bureau inspectors arrived at the scene as soon as possible, and the Administration has set up a working group to rush to the scene to investigate the incident.”

There are nearly 30 Tu-204s active today. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

The lifespan

The Tupolev Tu-204 series performed its first flight 33 years ago this month, having first hit the skies on January 2nd, 1989. Aeroflot, who often entered new homegrown aircraft into service, introduced the type on February 23rd, 1996. Nearly 90 units have been produced over the decades, and Aviastar-TU, Air Koryo, and Cubana Airlines are currently primary users.

Aviastar-TU is a cargo charter carrier that is headquartered in Zhukovsky, Russia, commencing operations in March 2000. Along with its Tu-204s, the firm operates a fleet of Antonov An-124 and Boeing 757 aircraft. Aviastar-TU’s fleet often works in collaboration with other companies. The likes of Cainiao, Airwork, DHL, and Russian Post have aligned with the airline on services across the globe.

RA-64032 performed its first flight on July 18th, 2002. It was then delivered to Aviastar-TU on July 27th that year. ch-aviation notes that the plane was fitted with a pair of PS-90A engines, helping to offer an MTOW of 110,750 kg / 244,162 lb. After 19 years of life, the aircraft was fully ablaze this week.

What are your thoughts about this Tupolev Tu-204-100C freighter burning down in China? What do you make of the overall situation? Let us know what you think of the incident in the comment section.