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The smiling giant: Airbus' Beluga aircraft rolls off the production line

An enlarged version of Airbus SE’s famously bulbous Beluga wing transporter is set to make its debut flight in the middle of the year after the first plane rolled off the assembly line.
The smiling giant: Airbus' Beluga aircraft rolls off the production line

This next-generation super transporter is one of the largest aircraft in existence
The aircraft, named for its resemblance to the dome-headed, hunch-backed white whale of the Arctic, is awaiting installation of its two engines before starting ground tests, with work on a second underway, Airbus said on Tuesday.
The Beluga XL is based on Airbus’s A330 jet, making it bigger than the existing model developed two decades ago from the A300. 
The smiling giant: Airbus' Beluga aircraft rolls off the production line

The first structurally complete airframe for the new BelugaXL rolled out from its assembly hangar in Toulouse, France this month
The five planes due to be built will shuttle between the company’s base in Toulouse, France, and sites including Broughton in Wales, where they will be big enough to collect both wings for the newest A350 wide-body.
The smiling giant: Airbus' Beluga aircraft rolls off the production line

Once operational, a fleet of these next-generation airlifters will be used to transport completed sections of Airbus aircraft among the company’s European production sites and to its final assembly lines in France, Germany and Spain
The first jet will appear even more whale-like, sporting what Airbus calls a “supersized smile” across its forward fuselage.
The smiling giant: Airbus' Beluga aircraft rolls off the production line

The BelugaXL's "smiling" livery was voted on by Airbus employees
 
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