The fastest passenger aircraft ever built was the slightly faster Tupolev
Tu-144, a Russian aircraft very similar to the Concorde.
However, the Tu-144 was larger and fitted with more powerful engines giving it a maximum speed of about Mach
2.35. Nevertheless, the Tu-144 suffered many technical and safety problems and was removed from passenger
travel after only a few months. It has since been used as a high-speed research aircraft by both Russia and the
United States. Tupolev is reportedly developing a new supersonic aircraft, called the Tu-244, which the company
hopes will be in position to replace the Concorde by about 2010.
- answer by Jeff Scott, 26 January 2003
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