A state-of-the-art cargo aircraft, designed to carry large Airbus aircraft components, has begun operations. The three-deck BelugaXL will replace the existing fleet of cargo aircraft serving Airbus production with a 30 percent increase in capacity.
The BelugaXL first flew in July 2018, performing the first of 200 test flights. Having spent more than 700 hours in the air in total, the aircraft received a type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency in November 2019.
With a length of 63 m and a width of 8 m, the aircraft became the record holder for the longest cross-section among all existing cargo aircraft in the world. The carrying capacity of the "air whale" is 51 tons of payload, which he is able to transport 4000 km.
The BelugaXL is based on a freighter Airbus A330-200. A pair of Rolls Royce Trent 700s are used as engines. A total of six aircraft are currently planned to be built. Operation of the new trucks will take place along with the previous model - BelugaSL, until the obsolete copies are decommissioned in 2025.