The Airbus BelugaXL touches down on British soil for the first time

Pictured: The incredible Airbus BelugaXL touches down on British soil for the first time

  • The huge aircraft is the newest addition to the Airbus transport fleet and sports eyes and a cheeky smile
  • The plane landed at Hawarden Airport in Broughton, Flintshire, as part of a year-long testing programme
  • New model BelugaXL is six metres longer and one metre wider than the BelugaST transporter it is replacing 

This is the moment the incredible BelugaXL plane touched down on British soil for the first time.

The huge aircraft is the newest addition to the Airbus transport fleet and sports eyes and a cheeky smile to make it look like its animal namesake.

The plane landed at Hawarden Airport in Broughton, Flintshire, as part of its year-long testing programme.

The new Airbus Beluga XL touches down at Hawarden Airport in Broughton, Flintshire – the first time it has landed on British soil 

The huge aircraft is the newest addition to the Airbus transport fleet and sports eyes and a cheeky smile – just like a beluga whale. It landed next to the Airbus wing assembly plant in Broughton, Wales 

The new model BelugaXL is six metres longer and one metre wider than the BelugaST transporter it is replacing

An example of its payload, is that it will be able to transport both wings of the A350 XWB jetliner at once 

Aviation enthusiasts lined roads around the airfield in order to catch a glimpse of the huge plane. 

The aircraft is due to carry out ground tests at the Hawarden Airport until it departs on Saturday. 

On its journey from the Airbus plant in Toulouse, France, today, it flew over the city of Bristol passing over landmarks including the Severn Bridge and the Airbus Filton factory – where Airbus aircraft wings are made.    


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The new model BelugaXL is six metres longer and one metre wider than the BelugaST transporter it is replacing. It can also carry six more tonnes in weight. 

An example of its payload, is that it will be able to transport both wings of the A350 XWB jetliner at once, instead of the single wing currently accommodated on the BelugaST.

The aircraft’s huge engines are made in the UK, at the Rolls-Royce plant in Derby. 

Airbus employees were asked to vote on a design for the plane, with 40 per cent voting in favour of the comical whale grin

The aircraft is due to carry out ground tests at the Hawarden Airport until it departs on Saturday. The first BelugaXL aircraft is planned to enter service in mid-2019

People in the nearby city of Chester were able to spot the plane in the sky as it made its approach before landing in Wales 

The huge Airbus Beluga XL soared over the skies of Bristol just before it touched down on British soil for the first time 

Airbus employees were asked to vote on a design for the plane, with 40 per cent voting in favour of the comical whale grin. 

Airbus said: ‘Airbus’s new Beluga will incorporate newly-developed elements including its lowered cockpit, cargo bay structure, and rear and tail section.

‘The first BelugaXL aircraft is planned to enter service in mid-2019 – operating in parallel with the existing five-aircraft A300-600ST fleet, which is to be progressively retired through 2025.’ 

Media gathered at the Airbus facility in Broughton to greet the BelugaXL while aviation enthusiasts also lined the roads around the airfield to try to catch a glimpse of the plane 

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