A highly uncommon visitor graced Munich Airport with its presence recently as an Airbus transport aircraft, the "Beluga ST," arrived to pick up fuselage segments intended for the production of long-haul airplanes. These segments were then transported to the Airbus facility in Finkenwerder, Hamburg. This unique operation deviated from the norm, as such flights are typically conducted from the Manching Airport. However, the Manching Airport is currently inaccessible due to ongoing runway maintenance.
The flying "white whale," as the aircraft is affectionately known, owes its nickname to its Arctic and subarctic namesake. The small white whale, distinguished by its iconic hump above its forehead, served as the inspiration for the Airbus super-transporter, characterized by its unique fuselage design.
The Beluga ST, based on the Airbus A300-600 model, was developed in the early 1990s. The need to transport fuselage segments between various Airbus locations prompted the creation of an aircraft with a cargo capacity significant enough to transport fully assembled segments between different Airbus production sites.
The cargo hold of the Beluga boasts an impressive volume of approximately 1,400 cubic meters, positioning it among the aircraft with the world's largest cargo capacity. The Beluga's capability for transporting large payloads has made it an invaluable asset in the aerospace industry, facilitating the movement of crucial components between Airbus facilities.
With its distinctive appearance and substantial cargo capacity, the Beluga ST continues to play a vital role in supporting Airbus's intricate production processes. Its recent visit to Munich Airport showcased not only its significance to the aviation industry but also the airport's adaptability in accommodating such unique operations. As the "white whale" soars through the skies, it carries the legacy of innovative engineering and international collaboration that Airbus stands for.
Foto: Michael Fritz/Flughafen Muenchen Copyright: Flughafen Muenchen GmbH, Unternehmens- kommunikation