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Airbus Launches New Air Cargo Service Using Iconic BelugaST Fleet to Serve Outsized Cargo Demand

Airbus has introduced a new service, Airbus Beluga Transport, that will provide commercially-contracted customers outsized cargo capability using their fleet of unique BelugaST aircraft.

Airbus BelugaST Transport Test Loading – Courtesy Airbus

On Tuesday (January 25, 2022), Airbus announced the launch of a new service, Airbus Beluga Transport. Using their iconic fleet of BelugaST aircraft, the new service will provide commercially-contracted customers in sectors such as space, energy, military, aeronautic, maritime and humanitarian sectors a new solution for their outsized freight transportation needs. The first mission took place at the end of 2021, with a delivery from Airbus Helicopters’ manufacturing site to Kobe, Japan for an undisclosed customer. During the mission, Beluga #3 made refueling stops in Warsaw, Novosibirsk and Seoul.

In Today’s announcement, Airbus’ Head of ATI and Oversize Transport, Phillipe Sabo, said,

“The Beluga’s wider cross-section will open up new markets and new logistical possibilities for customers. In the case of loading helicopters - not having to dismantle them first - really is a plus. Similarly, the largest commercial aircraft engines can be accommodated in a fully-dressed configuration. The new airline will be flexible and agile to address the needs of external worldwide markets.”

Beluga #3 takes off from Novosibirsk Airport in Russia on its final destination to Kobe, Japan - Courtesy Airbus

Based on the Airbus A300-600 airframe, the five-strong fleet of BelugaST aircraft have served as the backbone of Airbus’ inter-site transportation of large aircraft sections, and are now being replaced by Beluga XLs to support the ramp-up of commercial aircraft production. Airbus Beluga Transport will cater to numerous market applications, as the BelugaST fleet possesses the world’s largest interior cross-section of any transport aircraft, with the ability to accommodate outsized cargo up to 7.1 meters in width and 6.7 meters in height.

Once Airbus commissions all six new BelugaXLs, the full BelugaST fleet will be handed over to the new subsidiary with its own Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and staff. To maximise the BelugaST’s turnaround capability for its targeted international base, Airbus is developing new loading techniques and equipment, including an automated On-Board Cargo Loader (OBCL), for missions where a loading and unloading platform is not available at the origin or destination airport.

Source: Airbus

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