AIRBUS has revealed that its BelugaXL has entered operational service.

The aircraft made its first operational flight on the January 9, and is set to become a regular sight at Broughton Airport.

This is the first of six BelugaXL to begin work alongside the BelugaST predecessors, with the additional aircraft being introduced between 2020 and 2023.

It allows for 30 per cent extra transport capacity - being seven metres longer and one metre wider than its BelugaST predecessor.

Launched just over five years ago in November 2014, the entry into service milestone marks yet another successful achievement for the internal aircraft programme.

It was awarded Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November 2019 following an intensive flight test campaign that saw the BelugaXL complete more than 200 flight tests, clocking over 700 flight hours.

At 63 metres long and eight metres wide, the BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide.

The BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one. With a maximum payload of 51 tonnes, the BelugaXL has a range of 4,000km (2200nm).