First BelugaXL maiden flight a success.

Airbus Freighter BelugaXL program a success.

Today we saw the first of five BelugaXL complete its first flight. The aircraft landed at Toulouse-Blagnac at 14:41 local time after a first flight of over 4 hours.

The Pilots on this flight: Captain Christophe Cail, Co-Pilot Bernardo Saez-Benito Hernandez and Test-Flight Engineer Jean Michel Pin.

Furthermore monitoring the aircraft systems and performance in real-time at the flight-test-engineer’s (FTE) station were Laurent Lapierre and Philippe Foucault.

In addition to its first flight the BelgulaXL will undertake around 600 hours of flight testing over 10 months. This is done to achieve Type Certification and to be entered into service by 2019.

The BelugaXL was launched in November 2014. Due to Airbus’ transport capacity requirements in light of the A350XWB. In addition to increase single aisle production rates. As a result five aircraft will be built between 2019 and 2023 and set to replace the smaller BelugaST.

Beluga First Flight static display 01 - Travel Radar - Aviation News
The BelugaST & BelugaXL side by side on display.
Photography Courtesy of Airbus Media.

BelugaXL in Numbers

In comparison to the BelugaST the XL version has an extra 30% in capacity. With a length of 63.1 meters approximately the length of two beluga whales. Furthermore a height of 18.9 meters equivalent to 3 stories tall.

In addition the XL has a maximum payload of 51 tonnes or the approximate weight of 7 elephants. Airbus predicts the XL will travel approximately 6.5 million km each year equivalent to 17 flights to the Moon.

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Jake Smith
Jake Smith
Director of Special Projects - Jake is an experienced aviation journalist and strategic leader, regularly contributing to the commercial aviation section of Travel Radar alongside leading strategy and innovation including livestreaming and our store.


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