Subscribe Free
in General Aviation

The BelugaXL airlifter brings a “smile” to Airbus’ production network

Posted 30 July 2018 · Add Comment

The successful first flight of Airbus’ BelugaXL oversize airlifter marks an important milestone in further enhancing the company’s industrial network to support its production output – including the ramp-up in assembly rates for single-aisle and widebody commercial jetliners.

 

With an instantly recognisable livery – featuring a whale-type smile that was chosen by Airbus employees in a vote that attracted almost 21,000 participants – the no. 1 BelugaXL’s 19 July maiden takeoff initiated a 10-month, 750-flight hour certification campaign that will use two of the highly modified derivates of Airbus’ A330-200 freighter.

"The aircraft behaves really well in flight," said Christophe Cail, Airbus Chief Test Pilot and captain for the four-hour, 11-minute first flight from the company’s Toulouse, France headquarters site. "It's impressive how close the BelugaXL’s performance is to what we experienced in the ground-based flight simulators. First flights take a lot of preparation and we are just the tip of the iceberg, so ‘thank you’ to the entire team. It's only together that we can make it fly."

As the replacement for Airbus’ current Beluga ST airlifters – which were derived from earlier-production A300-600 jetliners – the BelugaXL features a fuselage that is seven metres longer and an enlarged upper fuselage that is one metre wider.

BelugaXL’s greater size enables the new-generation airlifter to accommodate a set of A350 XWB wings, for example, speeding up their transport from the Broughton, UK production site to the programme's final assembly line in Toulouse. The aircraft also can carry the A350 XWB's largest fuselage section with room to spare. Additionally, the BelugaXL’s 30 percent extra capacity compared to the Beluga ST provides potential to meet ramp-up needs in meeting the global customer demand for Airbus single-aisle and widebody jetliners.

Once in service, the fleet of five BelugaXLs will replace the similar number of Beluga A300-600 ST airlifters operated by Airbus Transport International – Airbus' fully-owned oversize transport subsidiary. Each aircraft will perform between 900 and 1,000 flights per year, logging some 1,700 to 1,800 hours annually in servicing 11 line stations at locations across the company’s European industrial network.

The initial BelugaXL to enter operation in 2019 with Airbus Transport International will be the second-built aircraft, followed by two BelugaXLs during 2020, and one each in 2021 and 2022 – enabling the Beluga STs to be retired during the 2021-2023 timeframe.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Gulf Air adds Maldives as it welcomes its third Airbus 320neo

Gulf Air has welcomed the airline’s third Airbus A320neo, which on October 26 will begin operating to Gulf Air’s newest destination – Male in the Maldives.

Etihad release statement on airspace restrictions

Following the decision of the US Federal Aviation Administration to restrict US airline operations in Iranian-controlled airspace, Etihad Airways has consulted with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and other UAE airlines to

SITA celebrates 70th anniversary with record US$1.7 billion revenue

More than 100 of the world’s airlines and airports gathered in Belgium last week as SITA, the air transport IT provider, celebrated its 70th anniversary.

Abu Dhabi Airports achieves CIPS Advanced Level

Abu Dhabi Airports has secured a Procurement Excellence Gold Award from the internationally recognised Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), following its completion of a comprehensive award submission.

Etihad bolsters flight safety with SITAONAIR's eWAS Weather Awareness Solution

Etihad Airways has bolstered flight safety by choosing to deploy SITAONAIR’s rich and intuitive EFB Weather Awareness Solution, eWAS, across more than 100 aircraft.

Qatar Executive expands its fleet with two Gulfstream Jets

Qatar Executive has delivered two new state-of-the-art Gulfstream jets.

Luxivair SK2404240719
See us at
Dubai AS BT2006211119MEBAA BT2006260919DIAC19_BT264161119ACCA19_BT_2404091019