Another Airbus next-generation super transporter with a smiling whale face, BelugaXL, is getting ready to begin regular operations for the European manufacturer. 

The images from the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse show a new aircraft rolling out of the manufacturing hangar. But this is not the first carrier of the kind to enter the market. 

BelugaXL made its first operational flight on January 9, 2020, and by January 20, had officially entered service. The model was designed to follow the predecessor – Airbus Beluga – with its new capability to transport bigger aircraft components, like wings. 

Five more “whales” are expected to join the newest oversize cargo airlifter. But until that, both BelugaXLs and STs will be flying until mid-2023, according to the company estimates. The second BelugaXL is expected to be delivered in mid-2020, followed by a third in early 2021.

While Airbus, which has manufacturing sites in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, uses other forms of transportation, air cargo is the “primary method” preferred by the aircraft manufacturer.

Beluga XL performed its maiden flight on July 19, 2018, and received certification in November of the following year. 

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Following the service entry of Airbus next generation super transporter, the BelugaXL, earlier in the month, the European manufacturer now invites to “enter the cockpit” of its “smiling whale”.