Posted: Sun 12th Jan 2020

Airbus’s next generation transporter BelugaXL all set to become a regular sight over Deeside as it enters service

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jan 12th, 2020

Airbus’ BelugaXL super-transporter has entered service.

The first commercial flight departed Toulouse at midday on Thursday and flew to Bremen in Germany.

The second leg of the flight saw it arrive at Hawarden Airport just before 4.30pm.

The plane, which is the second of the new generation of transporters to be built by Airbus, received it’s airworthiness certification last November following more than 200 flight tests.

[The 787 km flight from Bremen took just under 1hour 40 minutes. Flightradar24]

Certification has paved the way for the plane to begin transporting wings and aircraft sections to the firms assembly lines across Europe this month. 

In total, six aircraft will be built gradually replacing the current fleet of BelugaST transporters which look set to be sold off by Airbus to specialist freighter airline such as Volga-Dnepr or Cargolux.

The aircraft is an integral part of Airbus’ industrial system and a key enabler for production ramp-up requirements beyond 2019.

The BelugaXL allows for 30% extra transport capacity being 7 metres longer and 1 metre wider than its BelugaST predecessor.

With 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).

[BelugaXL’s debut at Airbus Broughton on February 14, 2019]

Launched in November 2014, the BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 Freighter, with a large re-use of existing components and equipment, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.

The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with partners, giving the aircraft its distinctive look.

The BelugaXL is the latest addition to Airbus’ transportation portfolio.

While air transport remains the primary method for transporting large aircraft components, Airbus also uses road, rail and sea transport to move parts between its production sites.

Like the BelugaST, the aircraft will operate from 11 destinations in Europe, continuing strengthen industrial capabilities and enabling Airbus to deliver on its commitments.

Stuart Jones who runs the ‘BelugaXL Hawarden’ Facebook page, photographed the plane as it arrived at Hawarden on Thursday. 

Link to page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/378990292892027/

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