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TOULOUSE: June 28, 2018. The latest version of the Airbus intra-company wing and airframe transport BelugaXL is ready for ground tests prior to a first flight this summer and entering into service in 2019.

BelugaXLThe BelugaXL programme was launched in November 2014 and at six metres longer, one metre wider and with a payload capacity six tonnes greater than the BelugaST it is replacing, the new aircraft will be able to transport both wings of the A350 XWB instead of a single wing on the current airplane.

The first of five aircraft based on the A330-200 freighter, the BelugaXL will be able to transport completed sections of Airbus aircraft among the company’s European production sites and to its final assembly lines in France, Germany and Spain.

“We have the A330 as a foundation,” said Bertrand George, head of the BelugaXL programme, “but many changes have been successfully designed, introduced into the aircraft and tested. Transforming an existing product into a super transporter is not a simple task,” he added.

As the first BelugaXL begins its test phase, a second A330 to be converted has begun - a process that George expects will take two months less than for its predecessor.

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