S. Ramadier/Airbus

Don’t be alarmed if you see a gigantic beluga whale flying over your town.

Cailey Rizzo
July 12, 2018

Earlier this week, Airbus unveiled the new BelugaXL aircraft at its factory in Toulouse, France.

Although the technical name of the aircraft is the Airbus A330-700L, it is much more likely to be known for its uncanny resemblance to the white whale without a dorsal fin.

When deciding how to deck out the new aircraft, 40 percent of the manufacturer’s employees voted for a beluga paint job, complete with eyes and a smile.

J.V. Reymondon/Airbus

The aircraft will be used to carry airplane parts to Airbus’s final assembly factories in Toulouse; Hamburg, Germany and Tianjin, China.

Although belugas are among the smallest species of whale, the BelugaXL is the opposite. The plane will have the largest cargo capacity of any non-military aircraft in operation today. It is about 20 feet longer and three feet wider than the current Beluga, used to carry plane parts like the wings of an A340.

The plane is currently undergoing ground testing and is scheduled to make its first flights later this year. Airbus will build five BelugaXLs, with the first expected to enter service in 2019.

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