Airbus rolls out last BelugaXL aircraft

An Airbus BelugaXL in the paint shop
Photo Credit: Airbus

On June 29, aircraft manufacturer Airbus took to its social media platforms to showcase the latest, and last, BelugaXL freighter. The aircraft was showcased directly out of the paint shop and will be the last BelugaXL produced by the manufacturer, and therefore also in the world.

The Airbus BelugaXL is the latest and modern iteration of Airbus’s previous series of Beluga freighter aircraft.

The aircraft serves its purpose in delivering aircraft fuselages and parts to the Airbus assembly line, as well as the aircraft features an eye catching design, hence the aircraft being nicknamed after the Beluga whale.

BelugaXL 6 is a go


Photo Credit: Airbus via Twitter

The sixth and final Airbus BelugaXL freighter has officially rolled out of the paintshop; the manufacturer Airbus revealed on its social media platforms on June 29. The BelugaXL is the latest and most modern iteration of its predecessor, the Airbus Beluga.

The aircraft has been nicknamed after its distinct design, making it resemble the beluga whale and hence the aircraft was nicknamed after the whale, though its previous nickname was the “Super Transporter”.

On the Airbus BelugaXL however, the nickname was adapted onto the airplane, quite literally, as all six of the BelugaXL aircraft feature eyes and a smile at the very front of the aircraft.

The Airbus BelugaXL programme was launched nine years ago, back in 2014, as a new super transporter aircraft supporting the A350 aircraft series production rampup. However, the six BelugaXL aircraft will now take over the operations of the previous generation Airbus Beluga aircraft.

The brief history of the Beluga


The history of the Airbus Beluga goes back almost thirty years, and its first flight was recorded in mid-September of 1994.

The aircraft was developed from the Airbus A300-600 series aircraft for the sole purpose of carrying oversized cargo, such as specific aircraft parts, fuselages and wings, but also

The aircraft was formally introduced a year later in 1995, and over the course of seven years, five Airbus Beluga models were built. The production period of seven years lasted from 1992 until 1999.

20 years after the first flight of the Beluga, Airbus announced their BelugaXL programme in 2014. The modern BelugaXL featured the same hauling capabilities, but an enhanced set of engines, wings and cockpit, all adapted from the Airbus A330, was clearly noticeable.

However, it still shares its fuselage design with the older Beluga aircraft, though being formally known as the A330-743L.

Overall


History is made and the chapter of the original Airbus Beluga-series comes to a close with this sixth aircraft being readied for operations, as theirs will be fully replaced by the BelugaXLs in the near future.

The entire fleet and journey of the Airbus Beluga has been a remarkable sight to avgeeks worldwide, and it will continue as such with the BelugaXL fleet in the years to come.

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