18 NOVEMBER 2019
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The latest version of the iconic transport machines used by Airbus to carry aircraft parts, the BelugaXL (below), named because it resembles a whale, has received its Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
This clears the way for entry into service by early next year for an aircraft Airbus describes as an integral part of its industrial system and a key enabler for production ramp-up requirements beyond 2019.
The BelugaXL, 7m longer and 1m wider than its BelugaST predecessor and with the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide, has an extra 30% extra transport capacity.
It can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can carry only one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the new aircraft has a range of 4,000km (2200nmi).
The XL went through an intensive proving campaign involving more than 200 flight tests totalling some 700 flight hours. Six aircraft will be built over the next four years, gradually replacing the current fleet of BelugaSTs.
Launched in November 2014, the BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 Freighter, re-using a large number of existing components and equipment, and is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.
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