The BelguaXL, Airbus’ cargo transport aircraft, has received its type certification following more than 200 test flights.
Airbus developed the BelguaXL as the successor to its existing ‘BelugaST’. The latter was based on the Airbus A300 model and adapted to carry large aircraft parts including wings and fuselages before being assembled together at the manufacturer’s plant in Toulouse.
The BelugaXL has just received type certification, from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The new aircraft type, which completed more than 200 test flights and accumulated over 700 flight hours, is to replace the fleet of 5 BelugaSTs. The manufacturer hopes to build six BelugaXLs over a four year period (2019-2023). The airline will gradually be replacing the existing fleet of BelugaSTs.
The BelugaXL, also known as the Airbus A330-743L, can carry 30% more load in comparison to the existing Airbus A300-600STs. Airbus has 11 manufacturing sites around Europe all of which, will soon see regular BelugaXL operations. The plane can carry 51 tonnes across 4000km. Airbus plans to introduce the plane into service next year.