Suppliers surface for a whale of an aircraft

Beluga 1As Airbus prepares for production of the Beluga XL, the latest update of the oversize air transporter, the manufacturer selected suppliers to build it at the Paris Air Show. The Beluga XL will eclipse the current Belugas with an additional one meter in width and six meters in length. This will allow the Beluga XL to carry two A350 XWB wings at a time – twice that of the current Beluga model.

The Beluga XL is needed to transport parts and supplies as Airbus prepares to ramp-up production of the A350 XWB and other aircraft. In comparison to the original Beluga, the XL will have 30 percent more cargo capacity. The design of the Beluga XL is similar to the Beluga, with its lowered cockpit, distended cargo bay structure, white color and distinctively pointed nose, which, quite frankly, give it the look of a beluga whale.

The suppliers chosen at the air show are as follows:

  • Stelia Aerospace will design and build the nose fuselage and main cargo door.
  • Aernnova will design and build the rear fuselage and dorsal fin.
  • Deharde, in partnership with P3 Voith Aerospace, will design and build the fuselage of the cargo bay.
  • Aciturri will design and build the horizontal tail plane box extension and auxiliary fins.

Further suppliers are still in the selection process. The first of five Beluga XLs will enter service in 2019.

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