Airbus’ Beluga XL Takes to the Skies

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If you look up and see what looks like a whale in the sky, don’t be surprised.

The Airbus Beluga XL, a massive super-transporter cargo plane that closely resembles a whale, is now in full-time service. The plane had its first operational flight on Jan. 9.

The aircraft will replace the Airbus Beluga, its predecessor, though a mixed fleet of Belugas and Beluga XLs will fly for at least five years before the Beluga is entirely phased out.

The Beluga XL has 30 percent more capacity than the existing Beluga. It is 207 feet long and weighs just over 281,000 pounds.

These oversized aircrafts carry Airbus plane components between European production sites and final assembly lines in Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin.

One caveat to keep in mind? You won’t be able to travel in it.

But the Beluga XL will play a crucial part in how many of the commercial passenger planes will be constructed in the future.

Airbus’ stock rose 52 percent from the same time last year. On Tuesday, Airbus traded at $134 Euros a share.

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