Airbus has announced the first of six BelugaXLs has entered into service, providing Airbus with 30 percent extra transport capacity in order to support the on-going production ramp-up of commercial aircraft programs, the company said.
The aircraft, which is an integral part of Airbus´ industrial system, made its first operational flight January 9th. The BelugaXL will begin work alongside the BelugaST predecessors, with the additional aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023.
Launched just over five years ago, in November 2014, the entry into service milestone marks yet another successful achievement for the internal aircraft program which was awarded Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Nov. 2019, following an intensive flight test campaign that saw the BelugaXL complete more than 200 flight tests, clocking over 700 flight hours.
At 63 meters long and 8 meters wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide. The BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000km (2200nm).