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New Airbus BelugaXL arrives for the first time in Broughton, North Wales

A whale of a job! The moment the pilot lands a brand new supersized 51-tonne Airbus BelugaXL in high winds in England while the huge cargo plane is unveiled to the world

  • Airbus has introduced its new giant cargo aircraft, the BelugaXL, which has 30 percent more capacity
  • The aircraft can carry two Airbus 350 wings – double the capacity of the existing BelugaST
  • The European aircraft manufacturer will introduce a fleet of six BelugaXL aircraft in the coming years

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Airbus has introduced its new massive cargo jet that can transport two wings of its gigantic A-350 XWB aircraft.

The BelugaXL, which today landed on Airbus Broughton in North Wales, is larger than the existing BelugaST aircraft and can carry more cargo.

The jet is designed to move wings from the assembly plant to other Airbus locations – and is expected to be in Broughton once or twice a week from now on.

The unusually shaped BelugaXL, pictured, landed today at Harwarden airport, which had arrived in the north of Wales for the first time since joining Toulouse

The unusually shaped BelugaXL, pictured, landed today at Harwarden airport, which had arrived in the north of Wales for the first time since joining Toulouse

The huge jet is larger and carries more cargo than the original BelugaST aircraft and can fit two wings of an A350 in its huge cargo hold

The huge jet is larger and carries more cargo than the original BelugaST aircraft and can fit two wings of an A350 in its huge cargo hold

The huge jet is larger and carries more cargo than the original BelugaST aircraft and can fit two wings of an A350 in its huge cargo hold

A total of six BelugaXL aircraft will be commissioned, while the smaller ST version will be phased out by Airbus

A total of six BelugaXL aircraft will be commissioned, while the smaller ST version will be phased out by Airbus

A total of six BelugaXL aircraft will be commissioned, while the smaller ST version will be phased out by Airbus

In the coming years, a total of six BelugaXL planes will be in service as the ST is phased out. The two aircraft types shared the runway briefly today.

The XL offers 30 percent extra transport capacity – seven meters longer and one meter wider than its predecessor BelugaST.

With the largest cross-section of all cargo aircraft in the world, the BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one.

With a maximum load capacity of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 2,200 nautical miles.

Launched in November 2014, the BelugaXL is based on an A330-200 cargo ship, with a large reuse of existing components and equipment, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.

The lowered cockpit, the cargo space structure and the rear and tail were newly developed together with partners, giving the aircraft its distinctive appearance.

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