First Airbus BelugaXL Nearing Completion
The next generation of aircraft to transport aircraft parts has appeared in the form of the Airbus BelugaXL, which was photographed outside the hangar at Toulouse this week.
The BelugaXL is one of the most voluminous aircraft in existence, and everything about it speaks to that fact. With a bulging upper forward fuselage and enormous cargo area, the BelugaXL is hardly recognizable as the outsized airlifter version of the Airbus A330-200 jetliner from which it is derived. “We have the A330 as a foundation,” said Bertrand George, head of the BelugaXL programme, “but many changes have been successfully designed, introduced into the aircraft and tested. Transforming an existing product into a super transporter is not a simple task.”
This initial BelugaXL is expected to be flying by mid-2018.
While the first structurally complete BelugaXL moves into its testing phase, the second A330 to be converted into a BelugaXL arrived on schedule in Toulouse to begin its integration process.
These aircraft will replace the BelugaST aircraft, based on the A300-600, which are currently used to fly parts between the various Airbus factories.