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Thu 16 Jan 2020 12:01 PM

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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.

In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service

The aircraft, which is an integral part of Airbus’ industrial system, made its first operational flight on 9 January. All image courtesy: Airbus

In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service

This is the first of six BelugaXL to begin work alongside the BelugaST predecessors, with the additional aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023.

In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service

At 63 metres long and 8 metres wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide.

In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service

The BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one.

In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service

With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000 km. (2200nm).

In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service

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.

In pictures: Airbus' first BelugaXL freighter enters service

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.