A giant Airbus Beluga cargo plane (A300-608ST) made a brief stopover at Chennai airport on Monday, July 11 for refuelling. This is the first time that the aircraft is touching down at the airport.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) tweeted that “The elegant whale is here and with such awesomeness! The mighty #Beluga No.2 (A300-608ST) landed at Chennai airport for the first time, today. The cargo transporter is a rare visitor in this part of the world and a marvel to behold.”
The aircraft, which is not carrying cargo, is on its way to Thailand, said an AAI official. Known as super transporter, the aircraft is a version of the wide-body A300-600 aircraft of the Airbus and is usually used to carry aircraft or machine parts and huge cargo. The plane will depart at 7 PM.
The Airbus Beluga aircraft is 56.15m-long and has a wingspan of 44.84m. It has a take-off weight of 1,55,000kg. Though its length and wingspan are smaller than the popular B747 freighter which is 70.6m-long and has a wing span of 64.4m.
Beluga planes are designed in the shape of a whale to carry oversized cargo including aircraft parts, machinery and even smaller planes.
Earlier in May, Airbus Beluga raised eyebrows and became the talk of the town as it touched down at Kolkata airport.
Carrying two helicopters in its massive cabin that is nearly four times the size of a normal wide-body aircraft, the Beluga took off late on May 22 to fly to Pattaya in Thailand. This was the second time the aircraft had visited Kolkata, the last being 23 years ago in 1999.