Airbus launches development of new Beluga oversize transport aircraft
Toulouse, November 18, 2014 (STAT):- Airbus took the decision to launch the development and production of five new Belugas to industrially accompany the A350 XWB ramp-up and other aircraft production rate increases.
The new Beluga will be based on the A330 with a large re-use of existing components and equipment. The distinctive looking lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail will be amongst the items which will be newly developed. The first of the five new Belugas will enter in service in mid-2019. The existing Beluga fleet will operate in parallel, and will be progressively retired through to 2025.
The "Beluga", is Airbus’ unique method for transporting large aircraft components– between company production sites in Europe. Airbus had already l launched “the Fly 10000” project aiming at doubling the current Beluga capacity by 2017. However the current capacity is limited and the new Beluga fleet will close this capacity gap.