HOW TO MAKE A WHALE FLY
Beluga air transporters unlock a unique manufacturing system
In 1969, production of the A300B was ramping up at sites across Europe, creating a need to transport large parts from production to final assembly and test sites.
So, our pioneers went above and beyond existing rail, road and sea options – literally.
In 1971 they started the Super Guppy programme, setting out to create a family of the most voluminous aircraft the world had ever seen.
When designing its successor – the Super Transporter – in the nineties, our pioneers made a defining design decision: to relocate the cockpit below the main hangar.
In doing so, they gave the aircraft roll on and off loading capability and the distinctive whale-like appearance by which it’s now known.
Today, Belugas form the backbone of Airbus’ global manufacturing logistics, as almost three quarters of aircraft elements need to be transported to final assembly and testing points.
With the largest aircraft yet – the BelugaXL – which first took to the skies on 19 July 2018, the family will continue keeping Airbus moving.
Airbus remains the only aircraft manufacturer to use air transport, rather than road, rail and sea, as the backbone of its transportation system for aircraft sections.
Our Belugas fly 10 hours a day on average to ferry parts between 11 European production sites.
The latest fleet of six BelugaXLs will gradually replace the existing Beluga fleet by 2023. Their 30% increased capacity will offer significant time and energy savings.
They enable Airbus to create and assemble its aircraft faster than its competitors, flying its pioneering progress around the world.
Fancy assembling your own BelugaXL? Download this cardboard cutout for your chance to make a whale fly…
Make a whale fly
Like this story?