Freight Airbus launches global freight service with Beluga aircraft

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced a new global freight service using BelugaST aircraft.

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The European manufacturer has launched a new air-cargo service which gives customers around the world new possibilities for solutions, as the company is using the Beluga ST special aircraft that is capable of transporting outsized cargo goods.

After introducing the more modern Airbus Beluga XL over the course of the last years, the manufacturer wasn´t reliant on the capacities of the ST fleet anymore. As the global pandemic continues, every cargo capacity is needed.

With the Beluga ST, which is based on the A300, Airbus can provide commercially-contracted customers with a variety of solutions for outsized transportation needs. Airbus mainly targets customers in the space, energy, military, aeronautic, maritime and humanitarian sectors.

Phillippe Sabo, Head of ATI and Air Oversize Transport at Airbus, said: “The Beluga’s wider cross-section will open up new markets and new logistical possibilities for customers. In the case of loading helicopters - not having to dismantle them first - really is a plus. Similarly, the largest commercial aircraft engines can be accommodated in a fully-dressed configuration.”

Airbus´ first commercial operation with the Beluga ST was a delivery of an Airbus Helicopter from the company´s site in Marignane, France to Kobe in Japan. On the way, the Beluga freighter stopped at Warsaw, Novosibirsk and Seoul to refuel.

Originally, Airbus operated with a fleet of five Beluga STs, which now will be replaced by six Beluga XL, which are based on the larger frame of the Airbus A330. The introduction will allow airbus to ramp-up its airliner production.

Regarding the future plans of this Beluga service, Airbus stated: “In the near future, once Airbus has commissioned all six new BelugaXLs, the fully-released BelugaST fleet will be handed over to a newly-created, subsidiary airline with its own Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and staff.”

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