Mike Martin/DUBAI

Better late than never... and what a sight! The Tupolev Tu-334 is making its debut outside Russia at Dubai 2000.

The 102-seat aircraft, designed as a Tu-134 replacement, made its first flight in February this year.

The Tu-334-100 prototype, fitted with two rear-mounted Ivchenko Progress ZMKB D436T2 turbofans, was actually rolled out in 1995, with certification scheduled for 1997.

However, progress was hindered by funding problems and certification is now expected in 2001.

The manufacturer has big ambitions for the aircraft, for which production lines have been established at the Aviant factory in Kiev (for the -100 variant) and at Aviacar's Samara factory (for the 126-seat -200 variant).

In addition, the company has had discussions with Iran for the licensed production of the aircraft. There is also a long-term plan to equip an export version of the aircraft - dubbed the -120 - with BMW Rolls-Royce BR710-48 turbofans.

Source: Flight Daily News