The first structurally complete airframe for the new BelugaXL rolled out from its assembly hangar in Toulouse, France this month.
The first structurally complete BelugaXL moves into its testing phase, where it will undergo a months-long battery of tests after installation of its two jet engines. The second A330 to be converted into a BelugaXL arrived on schedule in Toulouse to begin its integration process. According to program head the lessons learned from the production of the first transporter, the assembly time for the second is expected to be about two months shorter.
The BelugaXL programme was launched in November 2014 to address Airbus’ increasing transport requirements. At six metres longer, one metre wider and with a payload lifting capacity six tonnes greater than the BelugaST transporter version it is replacing, the BelugaXL will be able to transport both wings of the A350 XWB jetliner at once, instead of the single wing currently accommodated on the BelugaST. All told, five BelugaXLs are scheduled to enter service for Airbus’ airlift needs.