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PARIS: Greater definition emerges of A330-based Beluga

Airbus’s new A330-based Beluga transport will be 6m (20ft) longer than the A300-600ST currently used for logistics support.

The airframer disclosed the additional specification of the jet as it selected a number of suppliers to produce components for the type.

It states that the new aircraft – designated the Beluga XL – will have its characteristic nose fuselage and main cargo door designed and built by Stelia Aerospace.

The rear fuselage and fin will be provided by Aernnova while the horizontal stabiliser extension, plus the vertical auxiliary fins, will be developed and supplied by Aciturri.

Airbus, which disclosed the details at the Paris air show, says the responsibility for the distinctive fuselage will be given to a partnership between Deharde and P3 Voith Aerospace.

The airframer says the design concept for the Beluga XL is “similar” to that of the A300-600ST, with a lower-set cockpit, enlarged fuselage and modification of the empennage. There will be a “large re-use” of current A330 components, it adds.

“Further suppliers are being selected,” says Airbus.

Five aircraft will be built to aid the Airbus logistics operation, particularly the transport of large sections for the A350 programme. The first Beluga XL will enter service in 2019.

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