Beluga XL lands at Broughton factory in UK


Airbus’ massive Beluga XL cargo airplane landed at the company’s Broughton factory in North Wales for further ground testing on February 15, 2019.

The Beluga XL is 63m (206ft) long, around 7m (23ft) longer than the Beluga ST it is replacing. Based on the A330, it incorporates a highly-enlarged cargo bay structure and modified rear and tail section. The Beluga XL fleet will increase Airbus’ air transport capacity for the company’s industrial network by about 30%, says the company.

Flight testing of the Beluga XL began on July 19, 2018 from Airbus’ Toulouse headquarters in France. The aircraft is expected to start regular operations, moving oversized aircraft components between Airbus factories, before the end of 2019.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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