Cargo Service: Airbus Beluga XL Swings Into Action, Completes Test Trial
LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk)– The Airbus Beluga XL, one of the aviation world’s most hotly anticipated planes, finally spread its wings as the huge aircraft just completed a key round of testing at Hawarden Airport in Wales, ahead of entering service later this year.
At a time when jumbo passenger airliners such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 are on their way out, the Beluga XL, the first of five, will be one of the biggest beasts in the skies.
This is a super-transporter cargo plane designed by Airbus to fly its aircraft components between European production sites and its final assembly lines in Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin.
The Beluga XL is the successor to the Beluga, or Airbus A300-600ST, which has been in operation since 1995.
Starting with an A330 airliner, Airbus engineers lowered the flight deck and grafted a huge cargo bay onto the fuselage to create this unusually shaped plane.
Through an upward-opening forward hatch on the “bubble,” completed aircraft wings, fuselage sections and other components easily slide in and out.
The XL’s bubble is six meters longer and one meter wider than the original, meaning its cross-section is a whopping eight meters wide.