The BelugaXL made its first operational flight on the 9th of January. This is the first of six BelugaXL aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023 to begin work, providing Airbus with 30 percent extra transport capacity.
63 metres long and 8 metres wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide. The aircraft can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000km.
While air transport remains the primary method for transporting large aircraft components, Airbus also uses road, rail and sea transport to move parts between its production sites. Like the BelugaST, the aircraft will operate from 11 destinations in Europe.