Airbus has launched a new air-cargo service using its unique BelugaST fleet to offer freight companies and other potential customers a solution to their outsized freight transportation needs.
The new service – Airbus Beluga Transport – will provide commercially-contracted customers in a variety of sectors, including space, energy, military, aeronautic, maritime and humanitarian sectors, with a solution to their large cargo transport needs.
The first mission took place at the end of 2021 with a delivery from Airbus Helicopters’ manufacturing site in Marignane, France, to Kobe in Japan for an undisclosed customer.
A Beluga stopped to refuel at Warsaw (Poland), Novosibirsk (Russia) and Seoul (Korea).
Phillippe Sabo, head of air oversize transport at Airbus, 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.”
Based on the A300-600 design, the five-strong BelugaST fleet, which has until now been the backbone of Airbus’ inter-site transportation of large aircraft sections, are being replaced by six new-generation BelugaXLs to support Airbus’ ramp-up of its airliner production.
The new Airbus Beluga Transport service can cater for a multitude of market applications since the planes possess the largest interior cross-section of any transport aircraft.
In the near future, once Airbus has commissioned all six new BelugaXLs, the fully-released BelugaST fleet will be handed over to a newly-created, subsidiary airline with its own Air Operator Certificate and staff.
Sabo added: “The new airline will be flexible and agile to address the needs of external worldwide markets.”