Airbus has launched the development of five new Beluga transport aircraft to ensure it can meet increasing production rates, particularly the introduction of its extra-widebody A350.
The new aircraft, which will be used to move aircraft sections between Airbus’ four European facilities, will be based on the A330 and replace the OEM’s existing fleet of A300-based Belugas.
The new design will see the aircraft’s cockpit, cargo bay, rear-end and tail redeveloped, while incorporating many of the A330’s existing components and equipment.
The first of the new aircraft is expected to be delivered by mid-2019. All existing Beluga aircraft will continue to operate before being progressively retired through to 2025.