Air­bus hav­ing a (big­ger) whale of a time

Pilot - - NOTES -

The first of five new Air­bus Bel­u­gaxls made a 4hr 11min maiden flight from the man­u­fac­turer’s ToulouseBl­agnac on 19 July. The air­craft will now un­der­take some 600 hours of flight test­ing over a ten-month pe­riod lead­ing to ser­vice en­try in 2019. The Bel­u­gaxl pro­gramme was launched in Novem­ber 2014 to ad­dress Air­bus’s trans­port ca­pac­ity re­quire­ments in view of the A350 XWB pro­duc­tion ram­pup and build rate in­creases for its sin­gle-aisle range.

Based on the Air­bus A330200 Freighter, the Bel­u­gaxl is pow­ered by R-R Trent 700 en­gines. Five will be built be­tween 2019-2023, grad­u­ally re­plac­ing the cur­rent fleet of Bel­u­gasts. The XL’S max­i­mum pay­load is 51 tonnes and it has thirty per cent more ca­pac­ity than the ST, en­abling it to trans­port two A350 XWB wings, com­pared to one in the cur­rent air­craft. The Bel­uga XLS will operate to eleven des­ti­na­tions.

The new Bel­u­gaxl has thirty per cent more ca­pac­ity than the ST

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