In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service
Airbus' BelugaXL, which entered service in January 2020, has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide.
The aircraft, which is an integral part of Airbus’ industrial system, made its first operational flight on 9 January. All image courtesy: Airbus
This is the first of six BelugaXL to begin work alongside the BelugaST predecessors, with the additional aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023.
At 63 metres long and 8 metres wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide.
The BelugaXL 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 4,000 km. (2200nm).
The BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 Freighter, enabling the re-use of existing components and equipment, and is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.
The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with partners, giving the aircraft its distinctive look.