Airbus may not have a new passenger jet to show off like Boeing has. However, it does have a new aircraft that just entered the service. This newest family member is the Airbus BelugaXL aka the flying whale.
Thanks to the whale-like hump and the additional of adorable eyes and gleeful grin, the BelugaXL does really look like a flying whale.
The Airbus BelugaXL Transport Aircraft successfully made its maiden flight last July. Having awarded Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last November, Airbus BelugaXL is officially open for business.
The new Beluga entered the service with 30 percent extra transport capacity. While the ST can ferry one A350 XWB wing, the XT’s 63 meters long and 8 meters wide (207 by 26 feet) cargo bay can carry two with a maximum payload of 51 tonnes.
The A330-200 Freighter-based purposed design cargo aircraft has a range of 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles or 2,200 nautical miles).
This is the first of the six BelugaXL to begin work alongside the BelugaST. Additional aircraft will be introduced between 2020 and 2023.
All told, the Airbus BelugaXL has completed over 200 flight tests, clocking over 700 flight hours.
All images courtesy of Airbus S.A.S./S. Ramadier/H. Gousse.