Irkutsk has become something of a doomed destination, with four major plane crashes in the last decade. It is mainly served by Sibir, the former Siberian arm of Aeroflot. Sibir is Russia’s second airline, with 65 aircraft carrying over four million passengers a year.
Pilots rate Irkutsk airport as “difficult”, with a short runway. It is close to mountains, making for steep approaches and takeoffs. Apart from the Tupolev crash an Illyushin cargo plane failed in its takeoff in 1999, crashing into local homes. Luckily no-one was killed.
However two years earlier a giant Antonov cargo plane crashed in similar circumstances, this time killing 72 crew and people on the ground.