An year ago, Airbus introduced us to their Beluga planes with peculiar design and enormous cargo capacity. The cargo aircraft with a smiling whale appearance was built to replace the original Airbus Beluga which has been in service since 1992. The A300 served as the foundation for the Beluga ST jets, which were followed by the Beluga XL, which was built using six A330s. According to sources, the aircraft which was originally used only for the movement of oversized Airbus components like wings, will now be available as five Beluga ST freighters which can be leased by companies to transport their own capacious cargo.
Airbus is reviewing plans to contribute all five of its Beluga STs into chartering outsize freight operations by mid 2022. This will eventually result in establishing a new Airbus business to manage this part of Beluga’s operation.
Multi-purpose pallet system, portable onboard freight loader and newer outboard platforms are just a trailer of the new ideas being implemented by Airbus to support the new role of Beluga STs. The new multi-purpose pallet system requires minimum modifications regardless of the cargo it holds, and is made up of 2 meter modules with 20cm tie-down points. Similarly, the portable onboard freight loader will be used for less than 12 meters long & 20 tonnes in weight payload.