12 December 2013

Beluga capacity required for the ramp-up in the A350 XWB program could be fulfilled by a new A330-300 based transport.

Schematic diagrams of a planned development at Airbus’s UK wing facility further indicate that the A330 is the candidate for a high-capacity transport to succeed the A300-600ST Beluga.

Detailed diagrams for a Beluga line station at the Broughton plant show the plan view of the A300-600ST at the docking point overlaid by a larger aircraft whose dimensions are consistent with a modified A330-300.

Airbus has been examining potential candidate airframes to complement and replace its A300-600STs – of which it has five – in order to have sufficient capacity to ramp up A350 production.
The new line station would provide a weatherproof area for loading and unloading Beluga transports and would be located south of the runway and east of the wing-equipping facility.

Airbus’s supporting statement, in its planning application to the local council, says that wings manufactured at Broughton would be transferred from production hangars to external racks for short-term storage.

They would then be transferred to the new Beluga line station and either loaded onto the waiting jet or moved to internal wing racks until the aircraft arrives.

Based on the article “Airbus planning application hints at Bigger Beluga” published in FlightGlobal.


  1. The new Beluga is planned to fit a set of A350 wings inside its cargo hold, like the way A330 wings are transported. The current Beluga can only fit one A350 wing at a time.

  2. You are right, and with a rate of 13 aircraft per month with wing shells flying from Stade & Illescas to Great Britain, later the wing structures to Germany and jumping later to Toulouse...
    The wing deliveries are the bottle-neck of the Beluga capacity for the A350 Program.