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Airbus Gets a Whale of a Paint Job

Friday, July 6, 2018

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In late June, Airbus made a splash with the unveiling of the new design for the BelugaXL (Airbus A330-700L), a new mega-transport aircraft painted to look like its namesake—the Beluga whale.

The livery includes a whale-style nose cone, blue eyes and a smiling mouth.

Whale of a Design

According to CNN, the design was chosen by Airbus staff, via a poll in which 20,000 employees chose their favorite from among six options. The whale motif garnered 40 percent of the vote. The aircraft design itself is based on the earlier A330-200 airliner, which became known as the “Beluga” due to its resemblance to a whale.

Airbus

In late June, Airbus made a splash with the unveiling of the new design for the BelugaXL (Airbus A330-700L), a new mega-transport aircraft painted to look like its namesake—the Beluga whale.

The big aircraft serve to carry parts for the company’s plans from manufacturing sites to final assembly facilities. Their original counterparts have been in service since 1994, though Airbus spearheaded an endeavor to create a new, similar version in 2014.

"The need for the new Beluga comes with the increase in production rates and to get extra capacity on top of this fleet of five aircrafts," said Stephane Gosselin, head of Airbus Transport International.

"So initially there will be a mixed fleet use of both new Beluga and old Beluga. And then the second need was as well to anticipate replacement of an aging fleet."

The original Beluga could carry A340 airliner wings or a section of fuselage for the A350, but was not able to carry many of the super jumbo parts for the A380. The updated design has 30 percent more carrying capacity, standing at 6 meters longer and 1 meter wider, while capable of lifting a load 6 tons heavier than the original model.

After a series of ground tests, the BelugaXL is anticipated to take its first flight later this year, with plans to enter service in 2019.

   

Tagged categories: AF; AS; Asia Pacific; Business matters; Business operations; Coating Materials; Color + Design; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Latin America; NA; North America; OC; Program/Project Management; SA

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