Most Detailed Update Yet (Brought to you by too much vodka):
I'm still going strong but it seems that a lot of other people who order planes (often foolishly) and help keep my production lines open are dropping like flies. I try to scoop up their relatively new planes to augment my slow expansion but they are really hard to find on the used market. So far I've snagged two of the nineteen Tu-154Bs that were built without my help accounting for 50% of all 154Bs in operation. (so yeah, there are four of them)
Anyway, I'm faced with the Tu-134A, Tu-154B-2 and Yak-42 lines all set to close in a few months. The 134A is the backbone of my Leningrad base but I don't want to add any more unless I can direct purchase them as the remaining routes are under 50pax. The 154B-2 is a plane that I launched with three direct purchases and its considerably extended range has served me well. Having no idea when the 154M, highly anticipated at Red Star, will come into play, I'd like to get a few more of these but not if I have to lease them. Production of the B-2 has only survived to this point because of a BKed airline that hung on long enough to get one of two they had on order. As for the Yak-42, I considered it but ultimately didn't have much use for it but I'd still like to keep it in play as the best pax/fuel consumption ratio we currently have in the USSR, provided you can fill them. (I decided I can't)
I won't even discuss Ilyushin, I don't think there is any way to redeem the Il-62 series outside of Jet Age. That said, I was really touched when the Il-62MK actually got a launch customer years ahead of time but of course they didn't survive long enough to accept the first delivery this passed September.
This leaves only the Tu-134B without a current production warning. I built the first 21 of 35 total in the world and currently fly 21 of the 26 in operation. Some in Red Star think they are more profitable than the A series and that may be but you have to fill them which can't be done with the routes I still have unserved.
I'm concerned that if these lines all close, I will have a very hard time with fleet renewal when the first leases start expiring in 1983 but it's just not viable to order new ones now. There's more money in continuing to expand my medium/long-haul operation than in continuing to single-handedly keep the 134 alive. I guess I'm just going to have to have an older fleet as the years go by. Whatever I do, it's probably going to wait until January when I get my ridiculously large tax return.