To industrially accompany the A350 XWB ramp-up and A320 production rate increases, Airbus has taken the decision to launch the development and production of 5 new Belugas.
The new Beluga will be based on the A330 with a large re-use of existing components and equipment. The distinctive looking lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail will be amongst the items which will be newly developed.
The first of the 5 new Belugas will enter in service in mid-2019. The existing Beluga fleet -5 cargo aircraft based on the A300- will operate in parallel, and will be progressively retired through to 2025.
The current Beluga fleet of 5 aircraft has a limited capacity although the “Fly 10000” project aims at doubling the current Beluga capacity by 2017. And with the A350 ramp up and the flights that requires each aircraft, the new A330-Beluga fleet is needed to close this capacity gap.