A new pod of ‘White Whales’ due in 2019

The fuselage of the first A320NEO is loaded into a Beluga.

The fuselage of the first A320NEO is loaded into a Beluga.

Airbus is ramping up aircraft production, particularly of the A350, and to keep its supply chain moving smoothly the company  took the decision to upgrade its current fleet of five “Beluga” transport aircraft with five completely new units. The Belugas are used to transport major subassemblies between Airbus’ production sites in Europe.

The original Belugas, some now approaching 20 years of age, were based on A300-600 airframes, but the new models will use the A330 as a basic blueprint. The first of the new Belugas will begin service in mid-2019 and eventually replace the older models, which will be phased out by 2025.

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