Aerospace giant Airbus today launched the new version of its humpback-shaped airplane, known as a Beluga, into the skies for the very first time. The launch comes as the company takes steps to overhaul its manufacturing logistics.
More than a decade ago, Airbus created a fleet of Belugas to ferry parts of planes between sites around Europe, and eventually to Toulouse, France, where it completes final assembly of its aircrafts. But the new BelugaXL has 30 percent more space, which will allow it to do things like carry two airplane wings at a time, rather than one.
You can watch the first flight here, with the takeoff happening in Toulouse, France, just around the 30-minute mark of this video:
The company, which is Boeing’s main competitor in terms of building commercial aircraft, hopes this version of the Beluga will help it accelerate construction of new planes as the global market continues to evolve.