The Airbus Beluga ST (super transporter) made a brief appearance at the Chennai Airport for refuelling. It wasn’t carrying any cargo and was on its way to Thailand when it made a stop at Chennai Airport for refuelling. The AAI Chennai Airport made the following tweet, calling the airplane awesome –
The Beluga series of planes by Airbus are used for carrying oversized as well as regular sized cargo, and aren’t seen much in this part of the world. The Beluga ST’s flight began from in Toulouse in France on 7 July from where it flew to Marseille, Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Ahmedabad.
According to Airbus, featuring one of the most voluminous cargo holds of any civil or military aircraft flying today, the Airbus Beluga ST offers a unique way to transport oversized air cargo. Also known as the A300-600ST Super Transporter, the Belugas have played a key role in keeping the Airbus production and assembly network operating at full capacity.
The 207 ft-long Beluga XL, which is the Beluga ST successor, has a wingspan of 197 ft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and has a higher capacity than Airbus Beluga ST. While the Beluga ST can carry 47 tonnes in a freight compartment with a volume of 1,500 cubic meters, the Beluga XL can open its forehead to allow up to 51 tonnes of cargo to be loaded and has a volume of just over 2,200 cubic meters. The Beluga XL also features newer systems for loading and unloading cargo, which reduce turnaround times.
Just earlier this year, Airbus announced that its five Beluga ST freighters which can be leased by companies to transport their own capacious cargo. Under a new airline, Airbus Beluga Transport, the company plans to fly large cargo for space, oil and gas companies and militaries. Beluga STs are the predecessors to Beluga XL, and their remaining life of around 20 years will be used to transport helicopters and fully assembled engines. The larger successor Beluga XL will take over the Beluga STs’ previous missions.