The highly anticipated BelugaXL plane is finally in business. Airbus’ new aircraft, designed to look like a beluga whale — and only the first of six such planes — made its first operational flight on January 9.
The design was voted on by Airbus employees, from a shortlist of six designs, with 40 percent of the votes going to the beluga-whale-inspired livery. The BelugaXL is the successor to Airbus’ existing Beluga transport line, which is mainly used to carry aircraft parts and oversized cargo. This new version is 22 feet longer than the existing model. It is as tall as a three-story building and has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo planes.