NOTE: This content is old - Published: Friday, Mar 1st, 2019.
A second BelugaXL has emerged from the final assembly line in Toulouse, it was captured on camera by a freelance photographer known on Twitter at Frenchpainter.
Number two XL was spotted earlier this week at Airbus HQ, the picture shows the airplane, covered in the customary anti-corrosive green primer, being washed.
BelugaXL is based on the A330 airliner, it will be the successor to the current BelugaST which has flown between Airbus Broughton and the plane makers assembly lines in Europe for over 20 years.
The larger XL has been designed to carry two wings as Airbus looks to ramp up production of the A320 and A350 jets, the current BelugaST can only carry one wing.
The second BelugaXL to roll off the assembly line will, in fact, be the first one to begin carrying wings from Airbus Broughton.
It will enter service ahead of number one BelugaXL, the flight-test aircraft – which made its spectacular debut at Airbus Broughton last month, it will undergo a retrofit to remove flight instrumentation following certification.
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) February 27, 2019
Airbus has confirmed it has ordered a sixth BelugaXL and media reports suggest the plane maker is targeting a 2020 retirement date for the five existing Beluga ST transporter which first came into service in 1994.
Bloomberg says Airbus is “reportedly looking to sell the aircraft to special freighter airlines such as Volga-Dnepr or Cargolux.”
The original specification for the new BelugaXL was for five to be built.
BelugaXL program chief Bernard George reportedly told Bloomberg, during an interview last month at the Broughton wing plant, once Airbus has three of the larger XL planes in service by the end of 2020, it will look to sell the five original Beluga’s.
An Airbus spokesperson told Deeside.com:
“We confirm the addition of a 6th BelugaXL. The BelugaXL is an integral part of Airbus’ industrial system and a key enabler for production ramp-up to achieve the targeted 880 deliveries for 2019 and rate 63 by 2021
We do not comment on speculations regarding future customers for the BelugaST fleet.”