On Sunday, November 20, an Airbus Beluga made a unique spectacle visible to aviation aficionados when it touched down at the Kolkata Airport.
As soon as the cargo plane touched down at 12:30 p.m., travellers travelling in and out of Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport were captivated by its distinctive whale-shaped fuselage.
The aircraft, which was originally known as the Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter), earned the nickname Airbus Beluga due to its resemblance to the cute cetacean known as the Beluga whale, which is frequently seen in the Arctic’s coastal waters.
The wide-body aircraft made a rare weekend visit to the subcontinent, officials say it was en route to Thailand.
According to accounts, it had come from Ahmedabad to refuel and give the crew a break before flying off at around 9 p.m.
‘Wow, look who’s back! The whale is back again! For crew relaxation and refuelling, one of the largest aeroplanes in the world, the Airbus- Baluga (No. 3), arrived at Kolkata Airport,’ says a tweet from airport officials in that city.
The whale-shaped aircraft is one of only five Belugas that Airbus has ever produced. Beluga XL eventually took its place, and it went into operation in 2020.
It happens just over a month after the largest passenger aircraft in the world, an Airbus A380, touched down at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.
On October 14, the Emirates aircraft EK562 from Dubai (DXB) to Bengaluru (BLR) made history by landing there as the first Superjumbo ever.