Airbus launched the BelugaXL in late 2014 as a new super transporter supporting the A350 ramp-up and other production rate increases.  By the end of 2023, six BelugaXLs – derived from the company’s versatile A330 widebody aircraft – will replace the current BelugaST fleet.

The BelugaXL performed its maiden flight in 2018, and received the type certification in November 2019 from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) airworthiness authority. This paved the way for the first BelugaXL’s service entry in January 2020.
As with the BelugaST, the BelugaXL fleet will operate across 11 destinations in Europe, continuing to strengthen Airbus’ industrial capabilities and enabling the company to meet its production and delivery commitments.



Overall length63.1 m
Height18.9 m
Wing span60.3 m
Fuselage width8.8 m
Loadable volume length46.8 m
Loadable cross-section max width8.1 m
Loadable cross-section max height7.5 m


Max payload44 tonnes
Max range4,000 km
Max take-off weight227 tonnes
Max landing weight187 tonnes
Max zero fuel weight178 tonnes
Max fuel capacity (density = 0.803)73.3 tonnes


Overall length207 ft
Height62 ft
Wing span197 ft 10 in
Fuselage width28 ft 10 in
Loadable volume length153 ft 6 in
Loadable cross-section max width26 ft 6 in
Loadable cross-section max height24 ft 7 in


Max payload97,003 lb
Max range2,200 nm
Max take-off weight 500,449 lb
Max landing weight 412,264 lb
Max zero fuel weight 392,422 lb
Max fuel capacity (density = 0.803)161,599 lb


BelugaXL in flight

Expanding capabilities

The BelugaXL will gradually replace the existing five-member BelugaST fleet – flying between 11 destinations around Europe.

In addition to the significant use of existing components and equipment including Rolls Royce’s Trent 772B engines, the Airbus A330-based BelugaXL fleet incorporates newly-developed elements –including its lowered cockpit, a highly-enlarged cargo bay structure, and modified rear and tail section.

Sized at seven metres longer and one metre wider than its BelugaST predecessor, the BelugaXL provides 30% extra transport capacity. As an example, a BelugaXL can accommodate two A350 jetliner wings, compared to one in the BelugaST.

With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000 km (2,200 nm).

BelugaXL first A350 XWB wings loading and transportation operation

Speed and efficiency

As with the BelugaST, BelugaXLs are equipped with cargo loading systems to ensure easy and efficient handling of payloads, controlled by the trained crews of Airbus Transport International (ATI) subsidiary.

Thanks to new efficiency in systems, the turn-around time (TAT) for the BelugaXL is approximately 1 hour, reduced by almost half when compared to a BelugaST.

BelugaXL Infographic
Initial two Airbus BelugaXL airlifters

Flight deck

The BelugaXL is operated by two pilots, taking advantage of the modern A330 cockpit on which the latest systems and technologies developed for other programmes have been transferred – ensuring technology lead and commonality benefits.

Those include fly-by-wire flight controls, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and the Airport Traffic Situational Awareness (ATSA) system. In late 2021, RNP AR (Required Navigation Performance Authorisation Required) will be added. This system improves access at locations with challenging surroundings. 

At the end of 2022, ROPS (Runway Overrun Prevention System) and AP/FD TCAS (Autopilot/flight Director Traffic Collision Avoidance System) are to be incorporated. During landings, the ROPS predicts operational landing distance and warns crews on overrun risk during both auto-braking and manual braking operations, whereas automatic avoidance manoeuvreswith AP/FD TCAS (Autopilot/flight Director Traffic Collision Avoidance System) are performed in case of collision risk with another aircraft.


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