Beluga celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first flight
Toulouse, September 12, 2014 (STAT):_With its maiden flight on September 13, 1994, the popular Beluga cargo aircraft, affectionately named after the white whale because of its remarkable shape, is celebrating this week twenty years of transporting Airbus component parts between Airbus’ European manufacturing sites. Since 1995, the fleet of five Beluga aircraft replaced the ageing Super Guppy transporters in order to supply the Airbus final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. Today, more than sixty flights are performed each week between eleven sites, carrying crucial parts for all of the Airbus programmes, including the A380. The Beluga fleet is operated by Airbus Transport International (ATI), an Airbus subsidiary airline, and each Beluga crew is composed of a pilot, a co-pilot and a flight engineer. With the production start of the A350 XWB in 2012 and the production ramp-up on other Airbus programmes, the Beluga activities again will substantially increase over the next five years. “The Beluga is an essential element of Airbus’ integrated logistics and production system. It is thanks to its reliability and engagement of the Beluga teams that we can fulfil our constant pursuit of efficiency”, said Günter Butschek, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.