First Airbus BelugaXL oversize cargo airlifter emerges from paint shop with employee-selected, whale-inspired livery

The first Airbus BelugaXL has rolled out of the paint shop, sporting a special, beluga whale-inspired livery selected by Airbus employees.
The first BelugaXL transport aircraft from Airbus has rolled out of the paint shop, unveiling a special livery emulating a beluga whale, also known as a white whale. Airbus officials submitted six livery options to Airbus employees in a poll, in which 20,000 people participated. The smiling whale livery won the employees’ favor and the competition, earning 40 percent of votes.

The Airbus BelugaXL oversize cargo aircraft is now undergoing ground tests before its first flight, planned to happen this summer. Read about ground vibration testing of the BelugaXL in an article from William Kucinski, content editor in SAE International’s Aerospace Products Group. 

Airbus is building its BelugaXL, started in Nov. 2014, to address the transport and ramp-up capacity requirements for Airbus beyond 2019. The new, oversize air transporters are based on the A330-200 Freighter, with a large re-use of existing components and equipment.

The first of five BelugaXLs are slated to fly in summer 2018 and enter into service in 2019. 

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Courtney E. Howard is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International, Aerospace Product Group. Contact her by e-mail at

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