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Airbus rolls out first BelugaXL
BelugaXL. © Airbus

Airbus rolls out first BelugaXL

The first structurally complete airframe for the Airbus BelugaXL airlifter has rolled out in Toulouse. The aircraft is expected to fly by mid-year.

Airbus has rolled out the first structurally complete airframe for the next-generation BelugaXL transport aircraft from its assembly hangar in Toulouse, France in January. The Beluga XL will be used to transport completed sections of Airbus aircraft among the company’s European production sites and to its final assembly lines in France, Germany and Spain.

Based on the A330-200, the BelugaXL is six metres longer, one metre wider and offers a payload capacity six tonnes greater than the BelugaST transporter version it is replacing. The BelugaXL will be able to transport both wings of the A350 XWB jetliner at once, instead of the single wing currently accommodated on the BelugaST. A total of five BelugaXLs are scheduled to enter service for Airbus’ airlift needs.

The first BelugaXL is expected to be flying by mid-2018, and the second A330 to be converted into a BelugaXL has arrived on schedule to begin its integration process.

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