4-May-2016 9:13 AM

Airbus to start assembling new Beluga XLs from early 2017

Airbus announced (03-May-2016) the first of its five new Beluga XL airlifters will begin taking shape early in 2017, initiating the creation of a new large freighter aircraft fleet to transport complete sections of the company's aircraft from production sites around Europe to final assembly lines in France, Germany and Spain. Beluga XL's lower fuselage will be the same as the A330-200F and is to be built on the A330 final assembly line adjacent to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in southwestern France. The Beluga XL's other aerostructure-specific components are provided by external suppliers, including the significantly enlarged upper fuselage, the modified forward fuselage section with a lowered nose and cockpit, a large forward cargo door allowing "roll-on-roll-off" loading directly onto the main deck, and a pair of auxiliary vertical tailplane end-fins. The five Beluga XL aircraft will provide an additional 30% in transport capacity for Airbus' industrial network, joining the existing fleet of five A300-600ST Super Transporters - which are based on the legacy A300 aircraft. [more - original PR]

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