First flight for sixth Airbus BelugaXL


Airbus’ sixth BelugaXL aircraft carried out its first flight today to conclude the airframer’s project to replace its older Beluga fleet for oversized cargo.

Airbus said in a LinkedIn update today: “Big week for our BelugaXL. As our 6th and final gentle giant takes to the skies for the first time today, we also celebrate the 5 year anniversary since the first flight of our first outsized super transporter.

“We can’t wait to see her join her XL siblings flying aircraft sections between Airbus production sites and supporting outsized cargo missions.”

The BelugaXL, rolled out of production earlier this month, is a heavily-modified A330, developed to replace the older A300-600ST Beluga fleet.

It is designed to fly aerostructures between the airframer’s manufacturing facilities.

Airbus operated five Belugas and originally intended to build five BelugaXLs. But it later opted to extend production to six of the type.

All six aircraft are fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

Airbus’s first BelugaXL conducted its maiden flight almost exactly five years ago, in July 2018.

Airbus rolls out sixth and final BelugaXL transport

Belugas make a splash as they hit the air cargo market

Airbus launches supersize air cargo service

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]