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The first out of six Airbus BelugaXL has entered services and already flown on the first operational flight. The BelugaXL is a key part within Airbus industrial system, providing the airframer with 30% extra transport capacity to support production of Airbus commercial aircraft.
The new BelugaXL aircraft will work alongside BelugaST to boost transportation of large Airbus aircraft components. The remaining five planes are due to join the fleet of Airbus transporters in the period of 2020 – 2023.
According to a statement, Airbus BelugaXL, just as its predecessor, will operate from 11 destinations across Europe.
The new transporter is expected to add extra capacity as it has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide; it can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one.
The BelugaXL program was launched in November 2014. Five years later, in November 2019, it received Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and completed the entire phase of flight testing before officially entering service in January, 2020.