The USSR's short range jet airliner

The Tupolev TU-134 is the Caravelle of the Soviet Union. It was designed in the early 1960's following the introduction of the first Caravelle twinjet in France, the BAC-111 in Great Britain, and then the Douglas DC-9 in the United States. At that time the Soviet Union had already entered the jet age as well with the introduction of the first jet, the Tupolev TU-104, in 1956.

The Russians were impressed with the beauty of France, the Caravelle, for its elegant look and low noise inside the cabin. The Tupolev design bureau worked on further projects such as the TU-124 and then the TU-134 designed with two engines mounted on the tail like the Western built T-tail models I mention above. The first TU-134 aircraft flew in the mid 1960's and entered service with Russia's flag carrier Aeroflot in 1967. It was one year after the introduction of the TU-134 that the larger TU-154 would enter service.
The Tupolev TU-134 is the first Russian built airliner to receive certification from the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) to fly to foreign countries outside the Soviet Union. Most airlines from the Warsaw Pact, including LOT, Interflug (it used to be the major airline of East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall), CSA and Malev just to name a few, ordered the TU-134 for short haul flights within Europe. Tarom never flew the TU-134, even though it did fly the TU-154. I remember spotting in the 1980's TU-134's of Interflug in Brussels, it was the time Lufthansa was not allowed to fly to Berlin.
About 700 Tupolev TU-134's were built, with maybe less than a hundred of those still remaining in airworthy condition today(early 2010's). Some 150 of the 700 aircraft made were built for non Russian airlines. Aeroflot had at one time close to 500 TU-134's! Until the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990's, Aeroflot was the largest airline in the whole world. Quite a few TU-134's were lost in disasters unfortunately, but the airplane's safety record has much improved after the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990's.

Because of strict noise regulations in Europe, the TU-134's are no longer allowed to fly in Western European airspace. That's why most of the TU-134's built are now retired. Aeroflot retired its last TU-134 in December 2007, it was replaced with Airbus A319/A320 equipment on short haul flights. Also the new Sukhoi 100 Superjet, which will have about one hundred seats in its main cabin, will replace the last airworthy TU-134's in the years to come. Malev and CSA already retired their last TU-134's in the late 1990's. I believe that today (early 2010's) the TU-134's can be seen flying as passenger haulers only in the Russian Federation. A few of them remain preserved in museums in Europe, one of them is an aircraft of Malev preserved in Budapest. I saw it when I was there in 2004.
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