What's next for the BelugaST?

Airbus’s BelugaST is making way for the Beluga XL but this is not the end of the road for the beloved freighter, as Tom Batchelor reveals

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A Beluga being loaded using the Airbus multi-pallet platform
Eric Raz/Airbus

When it comes to transporting oversized cargo, some shipments – whether International Space Station modules or fully assembled helicopters – are too large to go in the belly of a passenger aircraft, and too time-sensitive to be transported by ship, road or rail.With the largest interior cross-section and most voluminous cargo hold of any transport aircraft in operation today, the Airbus Beluga family has, for more than two decades, helped plug that gap – shifting huge pieces of machinery across continents, primarily as an in-house operator for the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

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