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Soviets announce plans to make fuel-efficient jet

The Soviet state airline Aeroflot is due to introduce a new, more fuel-efficient passenger airliner, a modified version of the Tupolev-154, later this year, a senior aircraft engineer for the airline said Saturday. The TU-154B has become the mainstay of Aeroflot international services over the past decade.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union has halted development of the supersonic TU-144 jet, a model of which exploded and crashed at a Paris air show 11 years ago.

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''The operation of supersonic aircraft in England and France has proved inefficient, and as our aircraft is similar in design and other characteristics, our TU-144 has proved inefficient also,'' said Nikolai K. Poluyanchik, director-general of the airline's international department. The TU-144 jets have not been seen in commercial service here for several years.

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