Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have today announced that the Airbus A330-700L ‘BelugaXL’ has received its type certification. The first new Airbus freighter is due to enter service in early 2020.
The BelugaXL is built to ferry Airbus aircraft parts from eleven manufacturing bases across Europe to the final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. Airbus’ current A300-600ST ‘Beluga’ freighter fleet consists of five aircraft, but each can only fit a single A350 wing inside its dorsal cargo bay.
In 2014, Airbus announced the larger BelugaXL. It is designed to carry a pair of A350 wings at once, boasting a cargo area 7m longer and 1m wider than that of the A300-600ST, offering a 30% increase in cargo capacity. The Beluga XL will ultimately replace the A300-600ST fleet by 2023, when the sixth and final BelugaXL is completed.
Read more: Airbus celebrated its 50th birthday in May.
Matt is a London-based writer and reporter for International Flight Network who has been involved in aviation from a very young age. He has a particular focus on aircraft safety, accidents and technical details.