In July, the new Airbus cargo plane successfully completed its first test flight in Toulouse. It is intended for transporting aircraft parts between Airbus’ European sites, and will carry both wings of an A350.
The new Airbus cargo plane is 7 m longer than the current version (i.e. 63 m), with a wingspan that is 15 m wider (i.e. 60 m) and is almost two metres taller (i.e. 19 m). In terms of the maximum load capacity, the Beluga XL can transport 51 tonnes of freight compared with 47 tonnes for its little brother. Launched in November 2014 to address transport capacity needs and the ramped-up production of the Airbus A350 in particular, the fleet of 5 Beluga XL aircraft will transport complete sections of Airbus aircraft: the wings, the nose cone, and the fuselage, rotating between the company’s various production sites: in particular Toulouse and Hamburg (Germany).
The Beluga XL will now carry out a number of test flights to become certified and enter into service by the middle of next year.