Beluga XL Nears Service Debut
THE TESTING and development of Airbus’ Beluga XL airlifter has reached several milestones ahead of its entry into service later this year. The oversized craft completed its first flight carrying a pair of Airbus A350 XWB wings during February, underscoring its increased capacity over its A300- 600-derived predecessor. The test flight, between the manufacturer’s Bremen and Toulouse facilities marked the first occasion in which both left and right A350 wings have been carried by an aircraft simultaneously. Alongside this, the second Beluga XL has recently emerged from the paint shop in Airbus Transport International (ATI) colours – a maiden flight is expected in the coming weeks.