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Airbus’ BelugaXL, which entered service in January 2020, has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide

BelugaXL

New generation outsized cargo transport

 

Airbus launched the BelugaXL in late 2014 as a new super transporter supporting the A350 ramp-up and other production rate increases.  By the end of 2023, six BelugaXLs – derived from the company’s versatile A330 widebody aircraft – will replace the current BelugaST fleet.

The BelugaXL performed its maiden flight in 2018, and received the type certification in November 2019 from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) airworthiness authority. This paved the way for the first BelugaXL’s service entry in January 2020.

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

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Key figures BelugaXL

Key figures BelugaXL
  • Overall length 63.1 m 207 ft
  • Height 18.9 m 62 ft
  • Wing span 60.3 m 197 ft 10 in
Dimensions
Overall length 63.1 m
Height 18.9 m
Wing span 60.3 m
Fuselage width 8.8 m
Loadable volume length 46.8 m
Loadable cross-section max width
8.1 m
Loadable cross-section max height 7.5 m
Performance
Max payload* 51 tonnes
Max range* 4,000 km
Max take-off weight 227 tonnes
Max landing weight 187 tonnes
Max zero fuel weight 178 tonnes
Max fuel capacity (density = 0.803) 73.3 tonnes
Dimensions
Overall length 207 ft
Height 62 ft
Wing span 197 ft 10 in
Fuselage width 28 ft 10 in
Loadable volume length 153 ft 6 in
Loadable cross-section max width 26 ft 6 in
Loadable cross-section max height 24 ft 7 in
Performance
Max payload* 112,435 lb
Max range* 2,200 nm
Max Take-off weight  500,449 lb
Max landing weight  412,264 lb
Max zero fuel weight  392,422 lb
Max fuel capacity (density = 0.803) 161,599 lb

(* ) Aircraft weights and capabilities shown are the highest values. Ranges shown are at max payload.

Expanding capabilities

The BelugaXL will gradually replace the existing five-member BelugaST fleet – flying between 11 destinations around Europe.

In addition to the significant use of existing components and equipment including Rolls Royce’s Trent 772B engines, the Airbus A330-based BelugaXL fleet incorporates 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% extra transport capacity. As an example, a BelugaXL can accommodate two A350 jetliner wings, compared to one in the BelugaST.

With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000 km (2,200 nm).

Learn more about Airbus’ next-generation oversize cargo aircraft with this special “animated infographic.”

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

Speed and efficiency

As with the BelugaST, BelugaXLs are equipped with cargo loading systems to ensure easy and efficient handling of payloads, controlled by the trained crews of Airbus Transport International (ATI) subsidiary.

Thanks to new efficiency in systems, the turn-around time (TAT) for the BelugaXL is appproximately 1 hour, reduced by almost half when compared to a BelugaST

BELUGAXL-INFOGRAPHIC

Flight deck

The BelugaXL is operated by two pilots, taking advantage of the modern A330 cockpit on which the latest systems and technologies developed for other programmes have been transferred – ensuring technology lead and commonality benefits.

Those include fly-by-wire flight controls, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and the Airport Traffic Situational Awareness (ATSA) system. In late 2021, RNP AR (Required Navigation Performance Authorisation Required) will be added. This system improves access at locations with challenging surroundings. 

At the end of 2022, ROPS (Runway Overrun Prevention System) and AP/FD TCAS (Autopilot/flight Director Traffic Collision Avoidance System) are to be incorporated. During landings, the ROPS predicts operational landing distance and warns crews on overrun risk during both auto-braking and manual braking operations, whereas automatic avoidance manoeuvres with AP/FD TCAS (Autopilot/flight Director Traffic Collision Avoidance System) are performed in case of collision risk with another aircraft. 

Airbus and its oversize cargo aircraft

 

From the “Super Guppy” to the next-generation BelugaXL, Airbus has used oversize cargo aircraft to keep its production and assembly network operating at full capacity. To learn how, watch this video – which highlights key programme milestones over the years, including the BelugaXL’s type certification in 2019. Read less Read more

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Brochure

BelugaXL media gallery

BelugaXL Entry to service in Getafe    
BelugaXL Entry to service in Getafe    
First BelugaXL delivered to ATI – Front view    
First BelugaXL delivered to ATI – Side view    
First BelugaXL delivered to ATI – Rear view    
First BelugaXL delivered to ATI – On ground    
First BelugaXL delivered to ATI – Taxiing    
BelugaXL in flight    
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 with Patrouille De France aerobatic team    
Airbus 50th anniversary - Formation Flight - BelugaXL taking off    
Airbus 50th anniversary – Patrouille De France aerobatic team joins formation flight    
Airbus 50th anniversary – Family formation flight with Patrouille De France    
BelugaXL in operational service      
Airbus and its oversize cargo aircraft      
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      
The year in review: Airbus' 2015 highlights adjusted      
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