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DUBAI: Airbus narrows Beluga XL maiden flight window

Airbus is aiming to fly the first Beluga XL outsize transport in the third quarter of 2018, and achieve power-on before the end of this year.

It will undertake a 10-month flight-test campaign before entering service with the company's specialist Airbus Transport International arm.

The airframer disclosed the schedule just ahead of the Dubai air show.

For all the coverage from the Dubai air show visit our dedicated event page

Just a single aircraft will be used for the campaign. This initial airframe will be fitted with an assortment of flight-test instrumentation.

Airbus states that the attachment of the main freight door of the A330-based aircraft will begin in mid-November.

It says assembly of the Beluga XL is "progressing well" following the introduction of the major structures to the Toulouse line.

The manufacturer has been mating sections for the horizontal stabiliser – including its outboard vertical surfaces – as well as the vertical fin and tail cone.

Airbus says the initial airframe is also undergoing electrical and mechanical systems installation, while integration work on a second Beluga XL is set to begin "soon".

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