Flintshire - Final preparations are underway at Hawarden Airport for the arrival of Airbus's new heavy cargo transporter BelugaXL. The giant transporter carried out its first flight in July last year and started the route-proving tour between Airbus facilities in November.
Hawarden is an airport in Flintshire, Wales, where a large Airbus factory is located. The facility, which produces aircraft wings, is known as the Broughton factory, named after the nearest village.
As part of the preparations for the arrival of the Beluga family's newest member, huge blast fences have been installed alongside Chester Road, in Broughton between the main border fence and the runway.
Blast fences are safety devices that redirect the high-speed exhaust gases created by the jet turbines to prevent any damage or injury around the runway and airport.
The reason for these blast reflectors is that the new Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines of the BelugaXL produce around 30% more thrust than the current engines installed on the Beluga planes of previous generations.
The blast fences are the final preparations for the entry into service of the BelugaXL later this year. The new aircraft will be able to transport two A350 wings simultaneously and are vital in securing Airbus’ future plans, an Airbus spokesman said.
The BelugaXL has 30% more cargo capacity compared to the current Beluga, which will enable the European manufacturer to speed up its production to meet increasing customer demand for Airbus jets.
Airbus will build five Beluga XL in total. Each plane will carry out around 900 / 1,000 flights per year between the factories and assembly lines of the manufacturer across Europe.
The Beluga XL is expected land at Hawarden Airport next month.