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Beluga XL, the giant airlifter with maximum payload of 51 tons (able to carry approximately seven adult elephants at once) has finally received EASA type certification. This milestone brings closer the date this massive aircraft will enter service in 2020.
The BelugaXL allows for 30% extra transport capacity being seven metres longer and one metre wider than its BelugaST predecessor. This means that the BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one.
With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000 km (2200 nm).
The aircraft gets its stamp of approval following an intensive flight test campaign that saw the BelugaXL complete more than 200 flight tests, clocking over 700 flight hours. In total, six aircraft will be built between 2019 and 2023, gradually replacing the current fleet of BelugaST transporters.
Launched in November 2014, the BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 Freighter, with a large re-use of existing components and equipment, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with partners, giving the aircraft its distinctive look.