One of the largest aircraft in existence just got a crazy paint job

  • Airbus unveils a new livery for its aircraft transporter.
  • The BelugaXL is a highly modified version of the Airbus A330-200 jetliner.
  • 20,000 people voted to decide the new paint job.

Airbus's first BelugaXL rolls out from the paintshop.
Airbus's first BelugaXL rolls out from the paintshop.

Airbus’s new mega-transport aircraft has been painted to look like its namesake, the Beluga whale.

The BelugaXL is one of the largest aircraft in existence and is used to airlift completed sections of planes from different manufacturing sites in Europe to Airbus's final assembly lines in France, Germany and Spain.

In a press release Thursday, Airbus said the plane’s "smiley" livery was one of six submitted to Airbus employees to vote for their favorite in a poll that saw 20,000 participate.

The BelugaXL is six meters longer, one meter wider and holds a payload capacity six tons greater than the BelugaST transporter version it is replacing. Airbus said it would be able to transport both wings of an A350 XWB jetliner at once.

The transporter will now undertake ground tests before its first flight, which is planned for this summer.