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Beluga

Beluga

For outsized cargo transport

Featuring one of the most voluminous cargo holds of any civil or military aircraft flying today, the Airbus Beluga offers a unique way to transport oversized air cargo. Also known as A300-600ST Super Transporter, the company’s five existing Belugas play a key role in keeping its production and assembly network operating at full capacity, with the fleet’s overall pace of operations – managed by the Airbus Transport International (ATI) subsidiary – growing to support production ramp-ups.

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Beluga

Key figures Beluga ST

Key figures Beluga ST
  • Overall length 56.15 m 184 ft 3 in
  • Height 17.24 m 56 ft 7 in
  • Wing span 44.84 m 147 ft 2 in
Dimensions
Overall length 56.15 m
Cabin length 37.7 m
Fuselage width 7.31 m
Max cabin width 5.28 m
Wing span (geometric) 44.84 m
Height
17.24 m
Track
11.05 m
Wheelbase 11.05 m
Performance
Max take-off weight
155  tonnes
Max landing weight
144 tonnes
Max zero fuel weight
133.5 tonnes
Max fuel capacity
23 860 litres
Dimensions
Overall length 184 ft 3 in
Cabin length 123 ft 8 in
Fuselage width 24 ft 0 in
Max cabin width 17 ft 4 in
Wing span (geometric) 147 ft 2 in
Height
56 ft 7 in
Track
25 ft 0 in
Wheelbase 36 ft 25 in
Performance
Max take-off weight
341 (713) lb x 1000
Max landing weight
308.6 lb x 1000
Max zero fuel weight
294 5 (314) lb x 1000
Max fuel capacity
6 303 USG

Aircraft weights and capabilities shown are the highest values. Ranges shown are for typical passenger load.

 

Airlifter extraordinaire

With more than 20 years of reliable service, the Beluga carries complete sections of Airbus aircraft from different production sites around Europe to the final assembly lines in Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany. The five-aircraft fleet of A300-600ST Belugas – operated by the Airbus Transport International (ATI) subsidiary – transports fuselage sections, wings and tails for Airbus’ single-aisle A320 and wide-body A330 families, along with parts for the A350 XWB. 

ATI ensures a high level of customer satisfaction with loading, unloading, and delivery designed to be fast, safe, flexible, and reliable – as demonstrated by over two decades of successful operations throughout the world.

 

Expanding capabilities: BelugaXL

To support the A350 XWB ramp-up and other production rate increases, Airbus is replacing its five-aircraft A300-600ST fleet with six BelugaXL aircraft, derived from the company’s versatile A330 wide-body product line. 

In addition to the significant use of existing components and equipment, Airbus’ A330-based BelugaXLs will incorporate newly-developed elements including its lowered cockpit, a highly-enlarged cargo bay structure, and modified rear and tail section. 

Sized at seven metres longer and one metre wider than its BelugaST predecessor, the BelugaXL provides 30 percent extra transport capacity. As an example, the BelugaXL can carry two wings of an A350 XWB jetliner, while the BelugaST can only accommodate one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000 km (2,200 nm).

The BelugaXL performed its maiden flight in July 2018. Type Certification for the Airbus airlifter was issued in November 2019 by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), paving the way for the BelugaXL’s entry-into-service by early 2020 – progressively replacing the BelugaST fleet.

As with the BelugaST, the BelugaXLs will operate from 11 destinations in Europe, continuing to strengthen Airbus’ industrial capabilities and enabling the company to meet its production and delivery commitments.

BelugaXL by the numbers

 

The BelugaXL will gradually replace the existing five-member Beluga ST fleet – which is used for carrying complete sections of Airbus aircraft from different production sites around Europe to the final assembly lines in Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany. Learn more about Airbus’ next-generation oversize cargo aircraft with this special “animated infographic.” Read less Read more

The first two BelugaXLs – highly-modified A330 jetliners tailored to carry large airframe components within the Airbus aircraft production network – meet up in Toulouse, France

BelugaXL: countdown to service entry

Visit the dedicated page for news, photos and videos

Speed and efficiency

Beluga combines outsized cargo-carrying capability with the speed and efficiency of Airbus’s A300-600 airliner. It enables short transport times for production, and the large main cargo deck minimizes the need for payload breakdown, crating and packaging.

The semi-automated main deck cargo loading system ensures easy and efficient handling of payloads, controlled by the trained crews of Airbus Transport International – which operates the five-aircraft Beluga fleet.

 

Flight deck

The Beluga retains the same modern flight deck that is in worldwide operation on Airbus A300-600s and A310s. 

It is operated by a three-member crew comprising two pilots and a loadmaster. The main instrument panel incorporates six cathode ray tube (CRT) displays that continuously provide flight, navigation and systems-monitoring information in a clear, comprehensive manner. 

Also included in the cockpit are controls for a transportable heating module that can be installed in the main deck cargo compartment. The module provides temperature-controlled conditions for sensitive payloads carried by the Beluga, including satellites and paintings.

 

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France 02 May 2017

Airbus Beluga - Patrouille de France 4

The Beluga transporter aircraft, which flew in formation with the French Air Force “Patrouille de France” aerobatic demonstration team on 30 May 2014, plays a vital role in ensuring the ramp-up of several Airbus programmes

Read more
 / 
France 02 June 2014

Airbus Beluga - Patrouille de France 3

The Airbus Beluga’s milestone formation flight with the French Air Force “Patrouille de France” aerobatic demonstration team took place in France one day before the Muret-based Airexpo air show

Read more
 / 
France 02 June 2014

Airbus Beluga - Patrouille de France 1

Airbus’ Beluga transporter aircraft performed a memorable formation flight with the French Air Force’s “Patrouille de France” aerobatic demonstration team on 30 May 2014

Read more
 / 
Germany 17 June 2014

Airbus Beglua loading hangar

Six new loading hangars dedicated to Airbus' Beluga cargo carriers – the first of which opened May 2014 in Hamburg, Germany – will help these freighters increase their flight hour totals to support the company's latest production rate increases

Read more
 / 
Fuselage 15 September 2014

Airbus Beluga – Fuselage close-up 3

In service since 1996, the Beluga combines outsized cargo-carrying capability with the jet speed and efficiency of Airbus’ A300-600 airliner

Read more
 / 
France 15 September 2014

Airbus Beluga

The five-aircraft Beluga fleet services a network comprised of 11 stations located in France, Germany, Spain, the UK and Turkey

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 / 
Front 15 September 2014

Airbus Beluga – No. 1 aircraft on ground

AM SPS BELUGA MSN14.23-07-2013. FOTO JAVIER DIAZ

 / 
France 12 September 2014

Airbus’ fleet of Beluga aircraft

Airbus operates a fleet of five Beluga cargo airlifters, which together perform more than sixty flights each week to transport components for the company’s jetliners between 11 sites in Europe

Read more

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How an aircraft is built

Wing tip and horizontal tail plane close-up

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Brochure

Beluga media gallery

BelugaXL Type Certification - group photo    
Airbus Commercial Aircraft formation flight – Airbus 50-year anniversary    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation Flight - BelugaXL landing    
Airbus 50th Years Anniversary - Formation Flight - Patrouille De France Ambiance    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation flight – BelugaXL lands    
Airbus 50th Years Anniversary - Formation Flight Air To Air With Patrouille De France    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Patrouille De France joins formation flight    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation flight with Patrouille De France    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation Flight - BelugaXL taking off    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation flight with Patrouille De France aerobatic team    
Airbus 50th anniversary – Patrouille De France aerobatic team joins formation flight    
Airbus 50th anniversary – Family formation flight with Patrouille De France    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation Flight - Taxiing    
Airbus Commercial Aircraft formation flight – Airbus 50th Years Anniversary    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation flight - Taxi    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation Flight – In line    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation flight - BelugaXL crew in cockpit    
Airbus Commercial Aircraft formation flight – Airbus 50th Years Anniversary    
Vol en formation - 50ème anniversaire d'Airbus    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation flight - BelugaXL boarding    
Airbus Commercial Aircraft formation flight – 50-year anniversary      
Airbus Commercial Aircraft formation flight – 50-year celebration      
BelugaXL makes first flight loaded with two aircraft wings      
Highlights of the BelugaXL first flight      
Highlights of the BelugaXL first flight      
In the making: Airbus’ first BelugaXL      
BelugaXL by the numbers      
BelugaXL first flight teaser final checks      
Coming soon… BelugaXL      
Airbus’ first BelugaXL is “all smiles”      
BelugaXL ground vibration test      
First BelugaXL has its cargo door installed      
BelugaXL - FAL starts      
In the making Air Astana’s A320neo      
The year in review: Airbus' 2015 highlights adjusted      
In the making: Vietnam Airlines’ first A350 XWB      
Airbus’ Beluga celebrates 20 years in the air      
Airbus’ Beluga: 20 years of reliable service      
Airbus’ 2014 highlights      
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