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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.

''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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