Airbus A330 News
EASA: 'Beluga XL is airworthy'
- 14 November 2019 -
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has granted the type certificate for the Airbus BelugaXL. The aircraft type will enter into service by early 2020.
The BelugaXL is a very special version of the A330-200 Freighter, intended to fly large aircraft parts between Airbus factories in Europe. Its cargo bay has the largest cross-section of any existing cargo aircraft worldwide. It is seven metres longer and one metre wider than that of its predecessor, the A300 based Beluga ST. The XL has 30 percent more transport capacity and can carry two A350 XWB wings instead of the BelugaST only one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000 km (2,200 nm). Airbus sees the BelugaXL as an essential part of its industrial system and necessary to ramp up aircraft production beyond 2019.
The aircraft received its stamp of approval following a flight test campaign including 200 test flights and 700 hours in the air. Six aircraft will be built between 2019 and 2023. The new aircraft gradually replace the current fleet of BelugaST transporters. Many components and equipment are identical in A330-200F and Beluga XL. However, 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 powered by two Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.
Air transport remains the primary method for Airbus to transport large aircraft components, but the aircraft manufacturer also uses road, rail and sea transport to move parts between its production sites. The BelugaXL will operate from eleven points in Europe. (Photo: Airbus)