The Airbus’s Beluga XL is currently the largest cargo plane on Earth which can carry all sections of an Airbus aircraft from manufacturing sites to the last assembly lines in France and Germany.
This giant just had its very first flight last Thursday from Toulouse and Airbus plane-maker has tweeted on their Twitter account as below.
The post on Airbus’s Twitter page informing the debut flight of Beluga XL
The reason why everyone calls it “the whale in the sky” is due to its similar look with Beluga whale. Perhaps when designing this enormous aircraft, Airbus was also inspired by this friendly animal.
Picture of Airbus Beluga XL flying in the sky
Picture of a Beluga whale under the water
This airplane measures 125 tonnes in weight, powered by 2 Roll-Royce 700 Turbofan powertrains. Its loading capacity is also increased by 30% so that it can carry 53 tonnes of cargo in total. This means it is able to transport 2 wings of A350 XWB while the smallest BelugaST can just carry one at a time.
Video introducing the first Airbus Beluga XL
Standing behind Airbus Beluga XL in the list of oversized aircrafts is Antonov An-225 Mriya, Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and The Boeing 747-8 Dreamlifter. These cargo planes all have an impressive total payload ranging from 250,000 pounds to 559,580 pounds.
According to our latest updates, the Airbus Beluga XL will first serve its customers in 2019 along with five other smaller A300-600ST Beluga fleets. These giants are planned to retire in 2025 to make way for brand new Beluga XLs.
A300-600ST Beluga fleets at airport