The first BelugaXL, F-WBXL (c/n 1824) has been rolled out of Airbus’ Toulouse paint shop in a stunning Beluga whale-inspired livery.
The colour scheme, one of six choices submitted to 20,000 Airbus employees in an internal competition, was a clear winner accounting for more than 40% of the votes. The prototype will now undertake final ground testing prior to making its maiden flight later this summer.
This is the first of five A330-200 Freighter-derived oversize air transporters, the first of which is due to enter service next year. The five aircraft are being built to address a requirement for ferrying larger aircraft components from production sites to final assembly lines across Europe. The BelugaXL will, for example, be able to transport a pair of A350 XWB wings in a single flight, whereas the current generation A300-600 super transporter can only carry one.