The Airbus A300-600ST, the aircraft manufacturer's Super Transporter, which is also known as "Beluga", supports the exhibition "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" by carrying some of the artefacts from Egypt to European destinations. "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" will exhibit 500 artefacts of Egyptian history of the period 700 BC to 800 AD, which have been buried in the Mediterranean for more than 1000 years. They were discovered off the coast of Alexandria and in the bay of Aboukir by the archaeologist Franck Goddio over the last ten years.
On 10th April, three colossal statues - representing God Hapy as well as a king and a queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty - and approximately 40 boxes with smaller pieces were loaded on board one of Airbus' "Belugas" in Alexandria, Egypt. The three Colossal Statues all have a height of about five meters and weigh 5.5 tonnes each.
The aircraft flew to Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany, on 11th April. Following the unloading, witnessed by Mohammed Al-Orabi the artefacts will be taken further by road transport to the exhibition site in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.
On this particular mission, the Airbus Super Transporter carried a payload of 36,861 kg over a distance of 1,810 nm (3,352 km) during a flight from Alexandria to Berlin with a stop in Italy.
"Egypt's Sunken Treasures" will be on display in Berlin between 13th May and 4th September 2006. The Airbus "Beluga" aircraft will also de deployed for transporting the artefacts to their next destination, Paris in France, in September 2006,
Featuring the most voluminous cargo hold of any aircraft today, be it civil or military, the A300-600ST Super Transporter offers a unique method for transporting oversized air cargo. The aircraft type was designed specifically to ferry complete aircraft sections for the Airbus production system from different sites around Europe to the final assembly lines in Toulouse or Hamburg.
However, due to its main-deck cargo volume, which is greater than that of the Lockheed Galaxy, the AN-124 or the giant C-17 military cargo planes, the Beluga is also ideally suited for flying other oversized and fragile cargo, such as valuable artefacts and pieces of art. The "Beluga" can usually carry a maximum payload of 47 metric tonnes in its 1,400 m3 freight compartment non-stop over a range of 1,660 km/900 nm. Thanks to their unmatched dimensions the Belugas have already served the space, military and other outsized cargo markets.
For example, in 1999 the Beluga carried a famous very large painting from the Musée du Louvres in Paris to Tokyo. In February 2003, it transported three helicopters for Eurocopter to Australia, while in 2004 it made three trips to Baïkonur, the historical Russian launch site, to deliver three Astrium satellites. In September 2005, the Beluga contributed to the Hurricane Katrina emergency relief effort with 30 tonnes of tents, blankets, campbeds and a mobile hospital.
Airbus is an EADS Company with BAE Systems.