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Amir
Topic Author
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A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sat Aug 27, 2005 5:50 pm

Dear all,
After a long time iam writing a trip report about one remarkable sector with Syrian Air's TU-134 which I hope you will find interesting.

Thanks to a friends sharp attention he found out about two weekly trips from Damascus to Aleppo (the second biggest Syrian city in the north of the country) operated by a Russian plane. Since I was already in Damascus I immediate reacted. We were dropping some other friend at Damascus Airport when we passed by the RB ticket desk and I asked them about the Tu134 flights. I was lucky, RB was operating with the TU-134 on the very next day. So the next action was easy to predict. The tickets are very cheap, only Euro. 27 for a Roundtrip.

Syrian Air Flight number RB113/17 May 2005
DAM-ALP
TU-134 YK-AYE
Dep. Time 18:00

The next day I almost missed the flight due to late arrival at the airport. But in the middle east such things are easy going. I rushed to the Check-In counter to find that I was the first one and the staff didn't come yet. Minutes later some 10 people showed up and before checking in I made sure that no equipment change whatsoever is taking place and that the nice old lady is flying! Of course I took a window seat which was available.

At 17:45 we were bussed to the Plane and there she was a very young looking Tupolev shining in the summer sun. It was so nice boarding a 134 again, the last trip I made with this old Russian veteran was 3 years back with Albanian Airlines from Tirana to Istanbul.
My seat was occupied but I even got a better seat so I didn't argue much. The first impression I got was a surprising one. The plane was damn clean and organized too much for a spotter who is expecting the old stuff. And yet again a think to remember, the Russian smell was still there! The smell you just find when boarding one of these tupolevs or Iljushins. I love it!
There were no overhead bins, just shelves offering limited storage space. The huge windows (I think they and the Vickers Viscount are the biggest found on a commercial plane) were covered with nice clean curtains. The seat covers were the new RB ones referring to it's homepage. The seat was really comfortable and quite narrow (good old Russian feeling!) There were about 50 Pax out of the total number of 76 seats. The first two rows were facing each others and they had a nice wooden table in-between.
The numbering of the seats was different on the right side to the left. The signage was in both Arabic and English. The P/A was very good and the announcements clear.
At 18:10 we were off-blocks and started taxi passing the old terminal (now used for Cargo and Hajj-Flights) just to pass by some very nice old stuff parked there for quite some time: two Tristar (one 9L-LDR with "Star Air" markings. And one 707 in with a dark blue tail (I couldn't get the Reg.) . Afterwards we passed the YAK-40 which conducts two trips to Kamichli every day (a city close to the eastern border with Iraq). In addition there were: 2X RB 320, 2X 727 (one in old, one in new C/S) and ony the famous RB YK-AHA B747SP at the gate, A Gulfstream Royal Jet (A6-RJA) and a A313 of KU.

Then we headed to RWY 05L and the fun started! After the short takeoff roll of merely 23 seconds we went into the sky. Soon after reaching cursing altitude I went to the Toilet to find a remarkably clean and neat one. The old style Russian room spacious and with the best thing being the nice window in the ceiling bringing in daylight!
The know for flush was carrying writings in Arabic (hand written), neat regular liquid soap container with RB branding and tissue boxes were supplied. Another funny thing was a foot handle to open the trash bin in the WC.

Soft drinks were served and a very tasteful piece of coconut sweet. We started our descend and passed by the city of Aleppo (the airport is very close to the city, depending on the wind, you can enjoy really nice take offs and landing passing by the famous Citadel and Souks of old Aleppo.
The landing was quick and firm. When deboarding the flight I told the Cabin crew that I am returning on the same flight and if possible to stay on board, they stared at me and then they were very helpful , called the ground operation and a guy came and told me I have to get into the terminal but he will rush to check in otherwise they will close. So I waited in the duty free area (nice duty free and way lower prices than in Dubai) finally he came with a boarding pass and a smile wishing me a nice flight.

Syrian Air flight number RB118
Aleppo-Damascus
Dep. Time: 20:00
TU134 YK-AYE

There were about 60-65 Pax, we were bussed again to the plane, by now it already got dark. Once I entered the cabin one of the FA's told me that the captain wants to see me… He was sitting in the first row and after greeting me he asked if iam the strange passenger who flew in and out.. We had a nice discussion and I got to know that this plane of one of two remaining TU-134 in ops. With RB. It was completely refurbished and overhauled some two years ago. The plane was built in 1982. Afterwards he left me to and went into the Cockpit. So I remained seated in this nice seat having the foldable wooden table in-between. The take-off was again a short role and you could feel the powerful engine thrust. The noise level was very acceptable and not really loud. Also I didn't feel any vibrations at all!
I was reluctant to ask but I didn't and it paid off. I asked for a cockpit visit and much to my surprise I was allowed to (had many RB flights before and always declined cockpit visits) the first thing I noticed was the flooring of the cockpit which was not higher than the cabin (not on all TU-134) the crew of 3 was very nice and we had a good chat. The instruments were in good shape and no fading colors whatsoever (almost disappointing… Smile
The was a GPS instrument which was placed in the middle console. After 10 minutes I though let them work, but they insisted for me to stay and ordered some coffee, when I returned to my seat I passed by the galley and had to recall my early Inteflug flights. The galley looked huge for a plane with 76 seats, there were 2 hot ovens.

Again we got soft drinks and a piece of cake and landed on RWY 05R in DAM after 55 minutes of taking off. Unfortunately the best flights always come to an end when you are enjoying them best!
All in all a blast of an experience , a nice way to spend a summer afternoon in Damascus, flying a nice old bird….

With best regards
Amir
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:29 pm

Nicely written Amir, I enjoyed the descriptions of the aircraft interior, as I've never been on a Russian aircraft. Sounds like you had a terrific time, I bet you won't forget that flight in a hurry!


James
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
9v-svc
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:09 pm

Excellent trip report, this makes me even more eager to fly on a russian jet !
Airliners is the wings of my life.
 
patroni
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 12:53 am

Thanks for a very good trip report! I really enjoyed reading your story. So far I only had a short 1h night stop in DAM and was amazed by the many classic aircraft surrounding our plane.
I guess that in Syria, photography at airports/in aircraft is a big no-no though?

Cheers,
Thomas
 
semsem
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:48 am

SyrianAir have a nice web site. Thank you.
 
airxliban
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:24 am

Quoting Amir (Thread starter):
Soon after reaching cursing altitude I went to the Toilet

LOL!!!!!!!! I know that was just a typo but that was hilarious!

This was an xlnt report and am glad to hear that it is possible to enjoy such a ride in Syria. Did you take any pix?

Any idea how long these birds will be in service? I most certainly wantt to catch a ride on one. Do they have the Tu154s still?
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
airxliban
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:49 am

Amir, was this the 707 you mention?


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Kevin Greenwood

PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
mrniji
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:38 pm

I also want to fly a TU-134  Sad

Man, wonderful report!

I was just wondering that i might have flown some Russion Bird. Does anyone know which aircraft Aeroflot did operate FRA-MOW-DEL in 1984? I was a small kid by then, but at least I will be able to say that I have been on Ilyushin or Topulev Big grin

Thanks Amir!
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:35 pm

Attn. Kevin:

Yes, its the same plane, it has been there so quite some time.

And the Typo is great isn't it!  Smile
No idea how long the Tu-134 will be in service but i guess at least for a couple of years considering that they just refurbished it and spent a lot of money.
The TU154 they still have three of them. However two are def. not airworthy at the moment and one is always parked in from of the maintenance hanger but not deployed on schedule routes any more as far as i know.


Attn. Thomas:


Yes, unfortunately taking pics is not allowed. However if you got caught, being a non Syrian is more easy to handle.



Take care and best regards
Amir
 
TriStar500
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:42 pm

Amir,
Thank you very much for taking the effort to write about such an unusual trip.  Smile I really enjoyed reading every line of it, although it is a pity that you weren't allowed to take any photos.
I am really a little green with envy - paying just 27 Euro for a return flight on a TU-134 will probably out of the reach for most of us for the rest of our lives. Big grin
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
 
Amir
Topic Author
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Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:14 pm

Hi Tristar,

why out of reach? get yourself a visa and fly to DAM and do the trip and some sightgeeing along. Sep,/Oct are the best months.

Gruss
Amir
 
Sabena332
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:26 am

Great report about an airline and an aircraft which is not very often featured here on A.net, reading was a pleasure.

The fare of 27 EUR is simply incredible, makes me want to fly to DAM as well to get a flight on the TU-134. My flight logbook still lacks a Russian build airline, I flew with Aeroflot not too long ago but both flights were operated by the A 319.  Sad

Again, thanks for the report!

Quoting Mrniji (Reply 7):
I was just wondering that i might have flown some Russion Bird. Does anyone know which aircraft Aeroflot did operate FRA-MOW-DEL in 1984? I was a small kid by then, but at least I will be able to say that I have been on Ilyushin or Topulev

Unfortunately I don't know the exact aircraft type but I can say that you have definitely flown on a Russian build plane, Aeroflot didn't operate any western aicraft types in the 80's.

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8307
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:40 am

Amir,

Many thanks, I really enjoyed the report.

I've yet to manage a russian airliner, my Yak-42 flight got cancelled last year which would have been my first, such a shame.

Nice stuff, and once again thanks.

Regards

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
speedbirdegjj
Posts: 402
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:17 pm

Hi Amir

I am quite excited about the prospect of a similar trip. Can you tell me some more about the frequency etc and also the Yak 40 flights, i'm thinking whether it would be possible to visit from London for say three days and do both type's??, also are 727's used domestically?? (I'm kinda thinking 747SP, 727, Yak40 and 134 all in one trip type holiday coming on..... Big grin )

Many thanks for sharing your great experience

Cheers
Ryan

[Edited 2005-08-30 16:26:55]
 
Amir
Topic Author
Posts: 1224
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 8:56 pm

RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:09 pm

Hi Ryan,

The Domestic network of Syrian air (RB) is focused on three city pairs. DAM-ALP with almost 3-4 Daily flts. DAM-KAC (Kamishli) currently 11 flts/Week and around 3 to 4 weekly tris to Deir Al Zor (DEZ mostly en-route to/from KAC).
All schedules are published in the GDS and amazingly they most of the times do deploy the aircraft-types shown in the timetable
Currently and as per their schedule, the YAK-40 does the following flights:
DAM-KAC Days 1,3,6,7 dep. DAM 08:30
And sometimes on the Deir Al Zor.

The TU134 I can only find being scheduled for DAM-ALP on Days 2,3,6 unfortunately at 20:00 Dep. From DAM, returning late night at 22:00 from ALP.

The 727 is mainly deployed between DAM and ALP. Please note that a lot of RB’s flights to Europe go via ALP and hence operated by the A320.

Some Tipp: DAM and ALP are both worth visiting and full of ancient stuff, hardly tourism and if you want to see something really good go to Palmyra (ancient roman city in the desert) . KAC and DEZ are hardly offering anything so you’ll better have a Round-Trip without planning anything overthere.
The Tickets can only be bought through RB offices directly, not through a travel agent (only if he sends someone over and gets them issued over there). One possibility is the RB Ticket Counter in Departure area DAM Airport. Sometimes it’s not manned, don’t get discouraged just ask and wait until someone comes. They can book and issue right away. Always take things easy and be patient and you will be loved  Wink

In ALP and as far as i know, you can also purchase tix at the Airport but def. not in DEZ and KAC. In KAC it shouldn’t be a problem to return with the same flight as the airport is very tiny. In ALP it could prove a problem.

Ups almost forgot it: the 747 SP is not flying domestically but sometimes DAM-LHR and some charters to MAN (mainly to pick up Pakistani Traffic via Dam to KHI). Sometimes they use it to fly to KWi or RUH but I hardly think this is a valid option for you. As per the current schedule they use it on days 6,7 for dep. Ex ORY to DAM (Afternoon dep.) and on all LHR services on days 2,7,4 dep. LHR 10:00. Further from DAM to SHJ en-route to DEL and KHI

Hope this helps
Brgds Amir
 
speedbirdegjj
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:35 pm

Amir

Many thanks for your very detailed answer above. I have spoken to a couple of friends who are also very interested. Due to other trips away i wouldn't be able to consider this until possibly June next year but perhaps i could speak with you nearer the time regarding my plans.

I have checked in our GDS and the SP is, as you rightly say scheduled out of LHR on the days you said, so for me i would be an amazing trip to ride on these four types! so again i thank you for your help.

Incidently as part of our (BA) operation here in Jersey we have a travel shop so if any other people out there share my entusiasm for a trip to Syria next Jun/ Jul please get in touch via my profile and i will co-ordinate from this end.

Many thanks
Krgrds
Ryan
 
Amir
Topic Author
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:02 pm

Hi Ryan,

most welcome  Smile
Once you have your plans you can email me: [email protected]
I could also help with domestic land arrangements (contacts to Travel Agents) and maybe i will be there myself!

Best regards
Amir
 
A340600
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Thu Sep 01, 2005 1:28 am

Either you're working for the airline or Tupolev in promotions 

Only kidding, nice report on an interesting journey,

Cheers,

Sam 

[Edited 2005-08-31 18:29:07]
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
 
semsem
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:46 am

Speedbird, SyriaAir web site:

http://www.syriaair.com/

They have a ticket office in London.

However on their web site they made a booboo. They list the Tupolev as a Boeing 727 in the picture. It is clearly a Tupolev and not a B727. See the fleet page after clicking "about us."

http://www.syriaair.com/sub.asp

[Edited 2005-08-31 19:54:34]

[Edited 2005-08-31 19:55:42]

[Edited 2005-08-31 19:59:20]
 
patroni
Posts: 1372
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:54 am

Quoting Semsem (Reply 18):
See the fleet page after clicking "about us."

Yes, and I see a very familiar 747SP photo there, even though only in postage-stamp size  Wink

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Thomas Klein


Well, I guess this unauthorised photo use should get me at least a free return flight to Syria plus 3 days unlimited ramp access and photo permit  Wink Oh yes, I am dreaming...

Thomas
 
semsem
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:08 am

LOL this is indeed your picture. Hilarious. Maybe you should sue for patent infringement in the Damascus Court? Just kidding.

Anyway the food they serve looks pretty good. The eggplant is the way my aunt makes it.

[Edited 2005-09-01 02:13:30]
 
UK_Dispatcher
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sat Sep 24, 2005 6:49 pm

Great report, on a great aircraft. Apart from the A320, I'd like to fly on any of RB's aircraft.

I will be in DAM on 14/15Oct, then catching the RJ436 DAM-AMM on the morning of the 16th. I was gutted to see that RB do not fly this route. Also, the RB flights AUH-DAM are not on the days I have to travel, so I will have to fly EY to get to DAM. There, too, goes the chance to fly a 727-200 or 747SP....

Quoting Amir (Reply 14):
Ups almost forgot it: the 747 SP is not flying domestically but sometimes DAM-LHR and some charters to MAN (mainly to pick up Pakistani Traffic via Dam to KHI). Sometimes they use it to fly to KWi or RUH but I hardly think this is a valid option for you. As per the current schedule they use it on days 6,7 for dep. Ex ORY to DAM (Afternoon dep.) and on all LHR services on days 2,7,4 dep. LHR 10:00. Further from DAM to SHJ en-route to DEL and KHI

RB also fly twice a week between DAM-AUH, using a 747SP on one day (which goes on from AUH to BOM), and a 727-200 on the other day. There are also some flights ALP-AUH.
 
airxliban
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Sep 25, 2005 4:43 am

Quoting Semsem (Reply 20):
Anyway the food they serve looks pretty good. The eggplant is the way my aunt makes it.

Did I miss some link in the thread starter?
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
semsem
Posts: 1621
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:12 pm

<
Click on "meals" on the left and they have tons of pictures of First and economy meals. Looks great.
 
irelayer
Posts: 1126
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RE: A Rather Fancy Trip: Syrianair Tupolev 134!

Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:15 am

Amir another awesome trip report on a very unique (in the west) plane. By the way, when I told my mom I wanted to fly on a Russian plane one day she said she wouldn't let me. They have a really bad reputation with people living here in the US. Hopefully I can get it in "under the radar" so to speak :P

-IR

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