Airbus’s new A330-based high-capacity transport Beluga XL will provide a 12% increase in payload.
Airbus Head of Programs Didier Evrard said the new Beluga XL would have 1m. wider cross-section and 6 meters in length more than its predecessor A300-600ST Beluga.
Source: BBC One
It would be intended primarily for A350 work, and is being designed with capacity to ship 2 A350 wings simultaneously.
5 aircraft will be “progressively” built, says Evrard. The first 2 are “essential” to supporting ramp-up operations with the remaining 3 being introduced as the current Beluga fleet retires.
Source: BBC one
Evrard pointed out that the Beluga program will be used as a training exercise to refine Airbus’s development processes, in order to make them faster and simpler.
Airbus expects the Beluga XL fleet -scheduled to enter service in mid-2019- to offer an extra 30% transport capacity to the manufacturer, which has been adapting its logistics strategy in various ways to cope with the demands of A350 production ramp-up.
“We can relieve a lot of the ramp-up burden by moving smaller components to road traffic,” saidAirbus COO Tom Williams, adding that the airframer will “focus the Beluga on very big components”.