The first BelugaXL enters in service

Sixth and final BelugaXL enters service with Airbus

The aircraft was used as a test platform for the program that created a replacement for the original Belugas.

Airbus officially introduced the latest BelugaXL into service in June. The aircraft intended for transporting the manufacturer’s jet aerostructures had been used as a test platform for the program since 2018.

The ceremony to add Belugas to the fleet took place last week in Toulouse and Airbus now has six aircraft of the type, which is derived from the A330-200.

The BelugaXL replaced the Beluga ST, developed from the A330-600 and which are currently used to offer services to third parties, within Airbus Transport International (ATI), the group’s special cargo airline.

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BelugaXL maiden flight occurred in 2018 (Airbus)

According to the company, the new Beluga can carry 30% more payload, 51 tons, and fly for up to 2,200 nautical miles (4,074 km).

Its hold is capable of carrying the largest fuselage section of the wide-body A350 and two of the 30-meter wings while its predecessor could only carry one of them.

In 2024 alone, Airbus expects to transport 5% more payload than when it had a mixed fleet with the Beluga ST. Plans are to operate with a fleet of six aircraft for 30 years.

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