Russia's air transport regulator Rostransnadzor is recommending the grounding of Tu-154 passenger jets after the third major incident involving the Soviet era tri-jet, of which there are now 14 operating. A Kogalymavia jet caught fire and exploded while taxiing at the airport in Surgut, Siberia, on Saturday. Three people were killed and many of the other 113 aboard were seriously injured with everything from burns and toxic smoke inhalation to injuries suffered in the stampede that reportedly occurred during the evacuation. "Rostransnadzor has prepared an instruction which recommends air companies suspend flight operations carried out by Tu-154B aircraft until the causes of the plane accident in the Airport of Surgut are not established and measures to abate the risks coming from using this kind of aircraft are not taken," a statement by the agency said.
A Tu-154 carrying the president of Poland crashed on approach to a foggy airport in Russia in April, killing everyone aboard. In September, a Russian Ru-154 suffered an in-flight electrical failure and the crew was able to make an emergency landing at a former Russian military field. In early December, a Tu-154 broke apart after an emergency landing in Moscow that may have been related to a fuel problem.