Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport saw a unique visitor on Sunday, 4 November. One of the world’s largest cargo airplanes, the Airbus Beluga, landed for a refuelling halt.
The Airbus Beluga — shaped very much like the whale it is named after — touched down on Sunday evening and was scheduled to depart at 7:20 pm on Monday.
This is the super transporter’s first visit to the Hyderabad airport, officials told South First, adding that they had to make special arrangements for its landing, parking, and take-off.
Also known as the A300-600ST Super Transporter, the Airbus Beluga is used for transporting oversized air cargo.
The Beluga has been used to carry a variety of special loads, including space station components, large and delicate artwork, industrial machinery, and intact helicopters.
The length of the carrier is 184 ft 3 in, and its height 56 ft 7 in. It has a wingspan of 147 ft 2 in. The A300-600ST’s freight compartment is 24 ft in diameter and 124 ft long; and it can carry a maximum payload of 47 tonnes.
Currently, Airbus uses four of its five Beluga aircraft for transporting large assembled sections of the fuselage and wings of aircraft.
The fifth Beluga serves as a back-up for Airbus and is also hired out to fulfil special transport requirements.
It is pertinent to mention that the world’s biggest cargo aircraft, the Russian-made Antonov An-225, made its first landing in India at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad in May 2016.
Hyderabad Airport was chosen based on its infrastructure strength and technical parameters