Focus on XL transport aircraft
Airbus wants to expand “Beluga” business
06/21/2022, 09:22 am
As a result of the Russian war of aggression, a whole fleet of large cargo planes is lost with the Ukrainian Antonov Airlines. Airbus now wants to close the vacuum and increasingly rely on its own XL transport aircraft. There is enough demand at the moment.
The aircraft manufacturer Airbus wants to expand the business with large-capacity transporters for the military and civil applications. “With the failure of the Antonov fleet, a vacuum has now arisen in the area of wide-bodied transport aircraft. We want to prove ourselves in this market with the Beluga,” said the head of the Airbus armaments division, Michael Schöllhorn, before the beginning of Wednesday International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin. For him, a “personal highlight” of the fair will be the Airbus transporter Beluga XL.
“We have to bring our satellites to Kourou in Latin America under certain conditions. We’ve often done that with the Antonov. At the moment, the Antonov is no longer flying,” he said, referring to the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer, which has been the target of Russian attacks. “It’s also about the issue of military deployability, where the European armed forces are also thinking more about how they can bring equipment from A to B. And of course the Beluga also plays a role in the considerations.”
Schöllhorn is also President of the Federal Association of the German Aerospace Industry. Around 550 exhibitors will present their solutions for the future of aviation and space travel in Schönefeld from Wednesday to Sunday. In addition to less pollutant emissions in air traffic, the military part is particularly in focus because of the Ukraine war. The industry is keeping an eye on Germany’s planned additional military spending of 100 billion euros.
The AN-225, built in 1988, was also part of the Antonov fleet. It was considered the flagship of Ukrainian aviation and, with a length of 84 meters and a wingspan of almost 90 meters, it was the heaviest and largest aircraft in the world. At the beginning of the war, the “Mirja” was destroyed by Russian attacks at Hostomel Airport near Kyiv. During the pandemic, the machine had delivered millions of rapid corona tests to Germany.