Airbus new super-transporter arrived to Germany on November 15, 2018, to begin loading and unloading tests. They are part of validation and certification process, expected to finish in 2019.

The tests are going to be carried out at Airbus industrial facility in Bremen, Germany. Due to the airlifter’s size, Airbus had to upgrade the facility, adjusting its size and equipping it with new rolling shutter door.  

Beluga XL is approximately 7 meters longer than its predecessor Beluga ST. The new model is 63 meters in length with a 60 meters wingspan, in contrast to 56.15 meters length and 44.84 meters wingspan of the ST. It also has a “highly” enlarged cargo bay structure in addition to modified rear and tail section.

The upsized transporter that arrived in Germany is the first of five airlifters due to replace a “similar number” of current generation Beluga STs. Once the transition is completed, Airbus expects its industrial air network capacity to increase by 30%.

Able to carry approximately 50 tons of cargo, the super-transporter eventually will operate from 11 locations, carrying large aircraft parts.

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Airbus is building a new version of super-transporter Beluga XL which will eventually replace manufacturer’s current fleet of A300-600ST Belugas in service since 1992. Airbus Beluga XL is set to enter into service in 2019.