The first flight of Airbus' new transporter Beluga XL

The first flight of Airbus' new transporter Beluga XL

THERE'S still no word on whether pigs can fly - but you aren't going mad if you spot a whale soaring past your window anytime soon.

Because Airbus's Beluga XL aircraft - nicknamed the "whale in the sky" has taken off for the first time.



t took off from Toulouse Airport in France this morning for its maiden flight.

A crowd of more than 10,000 people, mostly employees and subcontractors of the European aircraft manufacturer, applauded as it took to the skies.

Airbus staff waved flags as the Beluga prepared for its test flight.

The plane has been designed to move oversized aircraft components and has an extra 30 per cent capacity on the current Beluga planes that it will replace.


This new plane is six metres longer and a metre wider, which means it can carry two A350 XWB plane wings instead of one.

This extra space in the "bubble section" and the new lowered cockpit - which makes space for the main deck with direct cargo loading capabilities - is what gives the plane its unique appearance.


The Beluga XL programme was launched in November 2014, with this oversized transporter to be used for carrying complete sections of Airbus aircraft from different production sites around Europe to the final assembly lines in Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany.

Tim Orr, head of branding at Airbus, said: "The six designs we proposed for consideration by employees respected our brand identity while running from the conventional to the unconventional, even adding a touch of fun."