The Airbus BelugaXL has rolled out of paintshop with a special whale livery that makes it look like a Beluga whale. The livery was one of the six choices submitted to Airbus employees through a poll in which 20,000 people participated. 40% of votes favoured the smiley livery.
The decision to build the BelugaXL was taken in November 2014 to address the transport and ramp-up capacity requirements for the company beyond 2019.
The new oversize air transporters are based on the A330-200 Freighter, with an extensive re-use of existing components and equipments. However, the lowered cockpit, cargo bay structure, rear and tail section are newly developed. The first of five BelugaXLs will fly in summer 2018 and enter into service in 2019.
The new XLs will operate in parallel with the five existing A300-600ST or Beluga fleet, which is to be progressively retired through 2025.
The BelugaXL measures 63.1 m long with a wingspan of 60.3 m. It can carry a payload of up to 52 tons and has a range of 2,200 km at max payload.