Whale Of A Plane: Airbus Is Building Massive Cargo Freighters

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Airbus already makes the world’s largest passenger aircraft – the A380 that can carry up to 800 passengers.

Now the French aerospace giant is building five huge new air-freighters that will move massive aircraft parts including fuselage sections and entire wings and tails from makers world-wide, to Toulouse in France and Hamburg in Germany, where Airbus has assembly centres that put its new planes together.

Dubbed the Airbus BelugaXL, these massive freighters will be able to carry up to fifty-three tons of aircraft parts at a time.

Each of the new Belugas, the first of which will go into service in 2019, will be capable of flying some 30% more cargo than Airbus’s existing cargo planes, and do so in single hops of up to 4,000 kilometres.

Named Beluga because of the resemblance of their nose sections to the head of the Arctic’s white Beluga whales, Airbus has had a bit of fun in going even further in giving its new airfreighters painted-on “eyes” and a grinning “mouth,” as it admits the voluminous raw aeroplanes will not be the most graceful in the sky. But everybody loves a smiling Beluga!

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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