Tupolev Tu-204, Tu-214 & Tu-234

It seems that Tupolev looked very much at the Boeing 757 when it developed the Tu-204, as their appearance is very similar. This could make disntinguishing them tricky. Both have a classic layout with low mounted swept wings, a regular tail plane and engines under the wings. Additionally, both have long landing gears to allow for sufficient clearance between the engines and the ground.
Typical for the Tu-204 are that winglets are standard. They are less tall than those of the Boeing 757. Also the transition between the fuselage and leading edge of the vertical stabiliser is less curved. The tailcone of the Tu-204 is shorter. Finally, the cockpit windows are slightly different and the doors of the nose landng gear are longer.

When you compare the nose of the Tu-204 with that of the Boeing 757 you will see that the cockpit windows are different. Also the doors of the nose gear are longer.

The winglets of the Tu-204 are smaller than those of the Boeing 757. Also the vertical stabiliser seems to have a narrower chord and smaller dorsal fin.

Different versions

To differentiate between the different Tu-204 subtypes you have to look at

  • the length of the fuselage
  • the existence of a cargo door in the left forward fuselage
  • the existence of cabin windows
  • the number and location of cabin doors and emergency exits
  • the size of the cain doors
  • the shape of engine nacelles
  • the presence of large bulges on the fuselage

Details will follow later.

Tu-204, Tu-204-100, Tu-204-200 & Tu-204SM

These are all versions built by Aviastar-SP in Ulyanovsk and powered by Aviadvigatel PS90 engines. The nacelles of the PS90 engines are a bit more slender that that of the Rolls-Royce RB211 engines. The diameter remains the same until halfway the nacelle, before it becomes smaller towards the exhaust. Also typical is that the second door on the left is somewhat smaller than the first one.

Tu-204 was the original designation, until the heavier Tu-204-200 appeared. Then the Tu-204 became the Tu-204-100. Tu-204SM is a modernised version with a two crew cockpit thanks to new avionics and other improvements. There are no external differences between the four subtypes.

The original Tu-204 has PS90 engines and two large cabin doors at the front and back, with two smaller doors in between.

The shape of the PS90 engine nacelles is not much different from the RB211 ones, but a bit more slender. From the side the diameter is the same except for the last half.

Tu-204-120 & Tu-204-220

Tu-204-120 and Tu-204-220 are Rolls-Royce RB211 powered versions, which otherwise the same as the Tu-204-100 and -200. The nacelles have a slightly larger diameter, which varies along the nacelle. Also the backend is often bare metal. The difference between the Tu-204-120 and -220 is in the maximum take-off weight.

The Tu-204-120 is the same as the Tu-204-100, but then with Rolls-Royce engines. (photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt/WikiMedia)

Detail of the RB211 nacelle, which is slightly thicker and more curved. The back is often not painted, but bare metal.

Tu-204S, Tu-204-100S & Tu-204-200S

These are all cargo versions of the standard (passenger) Tu-204, Tu-204-100 and Tu-204-200. Apart from a large cargo door in the left forward fuselage they are the same as the passenger versions. Often they even retain cabin windows.

From this side you cannot see the large cargo door on the left side, so you have to trust the markings 'cargo' and 'Tu-204C' (Tu-204S in cyrillic) on the nose. The cabin windows may further confuse you.

This is more clearly a Tu-204S, with the cargo door visible and hardly any cabin windows. (photo: Pawel Kierzkowski/WikiMedia)

Tu-204-120S & Tu-204-220S

Like the Tu-204-120 and -220 are Rolls-Royce powered versions of the Tu-204-100 and -200, they exist for the cargo versions are well. Depending on the maximum weight they are designated Tu-204-120S or Tu-204-220S.

The Tu-204-120C is a Rolls-Royce powered cargo version of the Tu-204. Note the bare metal back of the nacelle, typical for the RB211. (photo: Dmitriy Pichugin/WikiMedia)

Tu-204-300 (Tu-234)

Designated both Tu-204-300 and Tu-234 this is the short-body, long range version of the Tu-204. Its is powered by PS90 engines. Altough the Tu-234 is clearly shorter than the Tu-204-100/200, it still has four doors on each side.

The Tu-204-300 is clearly shorter than the regular Tu-204.


The aircraft produced by KAPO in Kazan is essentially a Tu-204-200, but then with three regular sized doors on the left side. Only the one directly behind the wing is smaller than the rest. Additionally, it has a higher weight, including the reinforced structure to cope with that. 

This Tu-214 can be recognised by the second cabin door on the left side: this is as high as the first door. On the Tu-204 this door is smaller.


If you see a Tu-214 with the long, pointed nose of a Tu-160 bomber, then you know it is a Tu-214LMK. This version is used by radar testing. 

The characteristic pointed nose of the Tu-214LMK is its key recognition point.


Another special mission Tu-214 is the Tu-214ON. This special mission is taking photos in support of the Open Skies Treaty. For this tasks the Tu-214ON has a camera pack, placed in a bulge under the fuselage, behind the wings.

Tu-214ON, with bulges for cameras clearly visible below the fuselage, after the wings.


The Tu-214PU is an airborne command post version of the Tu-214. Special equipment is housed in a canoe shaped bulge on top of the fuselage.

Tu-214PU, with with a large canoe shaped pod on top of the fuselage. (photo: Aktug Ates/WikiMedia)


TU-214PU-SBUS is the designation for TU-214PUs equipped with a special onboard communication unit. This is located in a second, dome shaped bulge on top of the fuselage, behind the canoe shaped pod.

The Tu-214PU-SBUS has an extra dome on top of the fuselage, behind the canoe pod of the standard Tu-214PU.


The multiple bulges on the Tu-214R, underneath and at the side of the fuselage, both in front of and behind the wings, make it easy to recognise this variant. These bulges contains equipment for electronic and signal intelligence.

The Tu-214R has lots of bulges under the forward and rear fuselage. (photo: Rimma Sadykova/WikiMedia)

Tu-214SR & Tu-214SUS

These two are also special versions operated by the Russian government. Both are used to relay communications. Externally they are the same as the Tu-214PU.

Confusion possible with

Boeing 757


The Tupolev 204 is often called the Russian 757 and when you look at both aircraft you can see why. Still of you look closely it is not so difficult to distinguish them. In particular look at the cockpit windows and vertical stabiliser. Also the Tu-204 has standard winglets, which are smaller than on the Boeing 757.

Airbus A321


The A321 and Tu-204/Tu-214 are similar in size and basic configuration. It is best to look at the number of wheels on the main landing gear to keep them apart: the A321 has two wheels per leg, the 757 four.

Boeing 767

b767 300er

The Boeing 757 and 767 have a lot in common when it comes to external recognition points, so the 767 could be confused with the Tu-204 as well. The main difference is in the fuselage diameter, which is narrower on the Tupolev than on the 767. Thus in particular the nose shapes are different.