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Charges consideration behind lighter BelugaXL

Airbus’s decision to develop a lower-weight version of the new BelugaXL outsize freighter is based on consideration of airport and route charges.

FlightGlobal had previously disclosed that the BelugaXL – formally known as the A330-700L – will have a lighter variant, with a maximum take-off weight of 205t compared with the standard 227t.

Airbus says this variant, known as WV001, is intended to “minimise” airport landing and navigation charges.

Such fees are based on the declared maximum take-off weight declared in the aircraft’s flight manual, rather than the actual weight of the flight.

Airbus is constructing five BelugaXLs to replace the A300-600ST fleet, with the first aircraft being delivered next year.

BelugaXL programme chief Bertrand George has previously said that the fleet replacement effort needed to meet “very challenging” cost targets.

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