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Tu-134 Crusty

Russian air companies have ceased regular passenger flights of the Tu-134. However, the aircraft is still in operation for cargo transportation and as a business jet. On 20 May 2019, the Soviet narrow-body airliner Tu-134 made its last regular passenger flight in Russia. Alrosa was the last air company in the country to operate two of these jet airliners on passenger routes in Siberia in recent years. Syria, Sudan and North Korea remained the only Tu-134 operators with regular passenger flights worldwide. In 2002 the airliner was banned from international traffic. According to the new ICAO noise standards, the Tu-134 was deemed too noisy.

The Tu-134 is a short-haul passenger liner that was first flown in 1963. TU-134 was born thanks to the first secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Nikita Khrushchev. During a trip to France, he was interested in the Caravelle aircraft, which, compared to Soviet liners, had a low noise level in the cabin. Returning to his homeland, Khrushchev met with Tupolev and shared his observations. Passenger jetliner Tu-134 turned to be one of the most successful projects in the passenger aircraft engineering. It left its mark in the history as the most widespread aircraft which performed the vast majority of passenger short-haul transportations.

The salon is equipped with large round portholes and 3 toilets. Chairs are arranged according to the 2 + 2 scheme. TU-134 can take on board from 80 to 96 passengers and carry them over a distance of 2,100 km.

With 854 planes built, the Tu-134 was one of the most mass-produced airliners in the USSR. It was widely exported to the Warsaw Pact countries. The initial Tu-134 design was based fairly closely on the Tu-124, and for a time was designated the Tu-124A. It has been designed and first built to replace the regional airplane called Tu-124. And the first take-off the new jet has made in 1963 under the name Tu-124A. In 1965 the plane was renamed as Tu-134, and one year later its serial production has been started at Kharkov Aviation Plant. Tupolev decided to reconfigure the aircraft to feature rear fuselage mounted engines and a T-tail, resulting in the new designation. This aircraft was developed from the previous Tu-104 and Tu-124 models, the most important difference were the two jet engines mounted at the back of the aircraft and the "T" shaped tail.

The Tu-134 was the first Soviet airliner to be certified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which permitted it to be used on international routes. For many years the Tupolev Tu-134 was the standard short haul jet airliner in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. The TU134 was the first Soviet passenger airliner which was certified to Western standards of airworthiness. TU134 aircraft entered history of Russian civil aviation as the most popular aircraft. The shortrange jet aircraft TU134 became one of the most successful projects in passenger aircraft building. The aircraft proved its reliability, acceptance of any operational conditions and long track of accident free operations with Aeroflot and many other airliners in Russia and foreign countries. Tu-134 can fly almost into any airport in Russia and CIS country.

A total of 852 aircraft were produced in various versions - TU134, TU134A, TU134B, TU134 UBL, TU134Sh - between 1963 and 1978, around 100 of them were used outside the Soviet Union, including the former GDR airline "Interflug". Versions appeared with decreased crew size, increased passenger capacity, improved economic indices, etc. Furthermore, based on a TU134 aircraft, a flying laboratory was designed to develop new prototypes of aircraft and space equipment. As of the January 1, 2006 the state registry of civil aircraft of the Russian Federation contained 223 Tu-134 airplanes, from which 162 vehicles were in operation.

From the moment of its commissioning it had been used by the Aeroflot almost on all commercial directions in Eastern and Western Europe, except Madrid and Lisbon. Tu-134, piloted by the crew under command of A. S. Gavrilov, has made its first international flight from Moscow, Sheremetyevo airport, to Stockholm on September 12, 1967.

This airplane operated on internal airlines of Russia, in CIS countries, in Northern Africa, Middle East and Couth-Eastern Asia. The JSC "Aeroflot - Russian Airlines" has been using this plane primarily for the flights toSt.-Petersburg, Volgograd, Perm, Kiev, Kaliningrad, Astrakhan, Minvody, Chelyabinsk, Ufa, Dnepropetrovsk, Riga, Samara, Sochi, Arkhangelsk, Naryan-Mar, Omsk, Yekaterinburg, Rostov-na-Donu, Krasnodar, Tyumen, Kazan, Minsk, Simferopol. Such a huge popularity and wide industrial use of this plane have been based on its simplicity in operation, ease of piloting and sufficient comfort for passengers. East German "Interflug" airline (1968) and later the "LOT" (Polish airlines) were the first foreign airlines to acquire the Tu-134. Upon adoption of the Chapter 3 of the Appendix 16 of the ICAO, which has toughened noise and other emissions related requirements to the aircraft, the door to Europe for the Tu-134 has been closed.

The first serial Tu-134 powered by the D-30 engines flew into the sky in 1966. In September of 1967, the first flight with passengers on board was performed en-route Moscow-Adler. Since that time, the active use of this outstanding winged machine started. With regard to the noise and vibration level in the passenger cabin, Tu-134 remained the most comfortable liner for many years. As most Russian aircraft of that time, the Tu-134 could not compete against western models because of the inefficiant engines. As of 2005 several hundred of TU134 aircraft were still in operation in Russia and abroad. This model is still used by several Eastern European and Russian airlines in small numbers, but the days of this aircraft are coming to its end even there. Tupolev is busy with upgrading of the aircraft, extending service life, providing with advanced airborne equipment and avionics. VIPclass modernization is very popular.

On 01 January 2008 Russia's flagship air carrier Aeroflot said it had completed the operation of Tu-134 aircraft. The Aeroflot board approved February 15, 2007 a program to gradually replace the airline's Tu-134 planes with modern aircraft. The last flight by a Tu-134 aircraft was performed on 31 December 2007 from Russia's western exclave of Kaliningrad to Moscow, Aeroflot said. All 14 Tu-134 planes in the Aeroflot fleet will be replaced by new-generation aircraft, especially the promising Russian SuperJet-100 short-range plane, which has been developed by the Sukhoi design bureau and whose delivery is expected to begin in late 2008, and medium-range A319 and A320 airbuses, the Russian air carrier said. Some of these 14 airplanes currently owned by the Aeroflot will be offered for purchase to its subsidiaries, "Aeroflot-Don", "Aeroflot-Nord" and "Aeroflot-PLUS".

For the entire history of the Aeroflot the company operated the fleet of over 600 Tu-134 vehicles. The average volume of passenger traffic by Tu-134 airplanes from total amount of all passengers served by Aeroflot, was 7-9%. For the period from 1995 through 2007 the Tu-134 airplanes have delivered to their destinations by charter and regular flights more than 6.3 million passengers, almost 18 thousand tones of cargo. According to some estimates, for the entire period of their operation these airplanes have carried over 10 million passengers and more than 30 thousand tones of post and cargo.

The Tu-134 was always praised for its reliability and outstanding technical characteristics. Unlike many modern jets, it can take off and land safely in a strong crosswind of 20 m/s and headwind of 30 m/s. Tu-134 airplanes maintenance and ensuring of their compliance with flight safety standards, as well as regular technical servicing, have been made by the ATC ATK of Aeroflot. And within the entire time of these airplanes operation they have been subjected to constant modernizations, including enhancing of in-flight resources, installation of new on-board equipment and avionics. Customized airplane of this type with VIP passenger cabin was extremely popular.

For the entire period of operation total in-service time of the Tu-134 aircraft had come to half a million hours, these airplanes have made more than 250 000 landings in various airports of the Russian Federation and foreign countries. In terms of efficiency and reliability index K1000 this airplane has been recognized as fail-safe and almost infallible vehicle. The Tu-134 is generally regarded by pilots as a rugged, simple and dependable aircraft. Most had been retired because of their poor fuel economy and non-compliance with modern noise regulations outside Russia.

By the year 2011, twenty eight of the 852 Tu-134s built have been lost since the aircraft entered service in 1967. Of those, 26 have been lost in accidents, one shot down by ground fire in the Abkhazian-Georgian conflict in 1993 and one blown up by a terrorist bomb over Russia in 2004. The Tu-134 is sixth highest on the list of aircraft crashes by type according to, but that figure can be misleading, as it ignores the fact that an aircrafts safety record is often as much down to the operator as the actual reliability of the aircraft. Many Tu-134s were operated by independent carriers which split off from the Soviet monopoly Aeroflot when the USSR broke up in 1991, many of which had a poor operating safety record. According to, most of the nine Tu-134s accidents since 1990 have been attributed to pilot error by flight crews in CIS nation-state airlines.

The Tu-134 was involved in one of the deadliest air catastrophes ever. Due to a flight control error, two Tu-134 aircraft collided on August 11, 1979, in the skies over Ukraine. As a result, 178 passengers and crew members were killed. The mid-air collision of two passenger aircraft in the skies over the Soviet Ukrainian city of Dniprodzerzhynsk on August 11, 1979 was one of the deadliest air catastrophes ever. The crash was caused by the mistakes of rookie dispatchers who sent two Tu-134 towards each other. As a result of the collision, 178 passengers and crew members were killed.

As with many other catastrophes in the Soviet Union, this one was at first able to be hushed up. However, among the victims were 17 players of the football team, FC Pakhtakor, which caused a huge scandal not only in the country, but also abroad. Two dispatchers were sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony, and one of them eventually committed suicide.

The legendary Tupolev Tu-134 converted into business aircraft offer the same level of comfort and luxury as its Western built analogues. When it comes to flying across Russian Federation and CIS countries in unmatched VIP atmosphere Tu-134 is the aircraft of choice. "Kominteravia" airline which had several TU-134A aircraft in its fleet was the first to address Tupolev PSC in 1995 for upgrading interiors of said aircraft. This work was performed in the shortest dates by specialists of the Design Bureau and Moscow experimental plant which is a subsidiary of Tupolev PSC and the company received two TU-134As provided with new state-of-the-art interior. This was followed by modification of several TU-134s more to VIP-class machines, other air carriers also placed their orders. 30 TU-134 aircraft with advanced interior and equipment were designed according to customer's requests and delivered to them.

On 20 January 2017 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu directed a to study the possibility of replacing used in military passenger aircraft Tu-154, Tu-134 and Il-62M in the new Russian analogues. The Ministry of Defense and enterprises of the United Aircraft Corporation were to agree on a "road map": determine which aircraft will be the first out of service, and to build a production schedule for the uniform loading of plants. To replace the Tu-134 the short-haul SSJ 100 can be used, and instead of the Il-62 and Tu-154 a long-range Tu-214 could be used. At the same time, according to sources, the minister instructed the Defense Ministry to upgrade the fleet, though without additional funds. The exact timing of execution of the order was not specified in the mandate.

Tu-134 Variants

  • Tu-134A (4 variants for 76, 80, 86 and 96(?65966) passengers)
  • Tu-134B
  • Tu-134B1
  • Tu-134BU
  • Tu-134A-SHe-1
  • Tu-134A-She-2
  • Tu-134D
  • Tu-134UBL
  • Tu-134UBK
  • Tu-134SL
  • Tu-134S
  • Tu-134M

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Page last modified: 23-05-2019 18:57:17 ZULU