The whale-shaped Airbus Beluga XL has the world’s strangest plane interior

The beast of an aircraft is big enough to swallow A350 wings.
  • Airbus Beluga XL has an interior that needs to be seen to be believed
  • The Airbus A330-743L is used to tranbsport parts across Europe
  • The huge cargo can be loaded and ready for takeoff in just 60 minutes

Published on Nov 10, 2023 at 6:37PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Nov 13, 2023 at 2:13PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis
The whale-shaped Airbus Beluga XL has the worlds strangest plane interior

While Airbus halted production earlier this year, the Airbus Beluga XL is still being used to transport cargo around Europe.

And the cavernous interior of the Airbus A330-743L needs to be seen to be believed.

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Airbus is made up of Spanish, German, British and French companies under one umbrella.

That means manufacturing is also scattered and must be transported aboard the Airbus Beluga XL before being attached to the fusilage.

“Welcome to the biggest front door ever,” Paul Kilmister, UK head of supply chain for Airbus, said.

“This is insane – it looks absolutely enormous,” says Nicky Kelvin, editor at large for The Points Guy.

The doors are a mind-blowing 7.5m high at the opening and 8.1m wide.

And while the interiors are less comfortable, homely and entertaining than other jets we’ve seen – it’s certainly impressive.

In terms of capacity, that enables the Airbus Beluga XL to transport “two Airbus A350-1000 wings straight down the middle”.

The items to be carried are moved on rails until they are lined up with the Beluga interface rack.

There are then tracks that slowly move the heavy and precious cargo inside before the door is locked.

And it’s a comically small button that swings the giant “jaws” shut.

The huge cargo can turned around “from trucks to chocks” in just 60 minutes.

Once aboard there is a narrow corridor of several single-file seats leading to the cockpit.

The captain explains that aside from the constantly changing “wallpaper” the craft is seriously high performance.

That allows for short landings and takeoff.

And, contrary to what you might think, there’s apparently “not a big difference” to how it flies when it’s fully loaded and empty.

The parts are then transported from the Airbus facility that manufactures them in Broughton in North Wales.

They’re taken where they need to be in Europe for Airbus with a wink of an eye from the cheeky whale face on the plane’s exterior.

It’s powered by  powerful and efficient Rolls-Royce Trent 700 turbofan engines rated at 71,000lb st each.

But despite the exquisite engineering, just like the massive Boeing Airlifter and other giant aircrafts, it’s hard to understand the physics of it getting off the ground.

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