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Beluga XL transports its first cargo, two A350XWB wings

Toulouse - Beluga XL, the new giant transporter of Airbus, carried out its first flight between Bremen and Toulouse with its very special cargo, two A350XWB wings.

Airbus' exceptional cargo aircraft, the Beluga XL, made its first cargo flight from Bremen to Toulouse. The aircraft carried the full wing structure of an A350 XWB. The previous version is able to transport only one wing at a time.

Airbus will produce four more Beluga XL by 2023. The new planes will gradually replace the Belugas of the previous generation.

This new cargo plane is designed to speed up the assembly of the widebody planes of the manufacturer such as the Airbus A350XWB.

The new Beluga is 7 meters (23 feet) longer, and one meter (3.3 feet) larger than its predecessor. Its transport capacity is 30 percent higher than the current Belugas in service. It has 51 tons of cargo capacity over a flight distance of 4074 kilometers (2200 nautical miles). Its maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) reaches 227 tons against 115 tons, that of the old Beluga.

The freighter is intended to transport complete sections of aircraft at a time such as wings, nose, fuselage, by rotating between the various sites of the European aircraft manufacturer, which are only two or three hour flight from Toulouse.

Airbus launched the Beluga XL program in 2014 to produce five units in total. The second aircraft is already being assembled.