Airbus BelugaXL beams with joy as it leaves the paint shop

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The first Airbus BelugaXL has rolled out of the paint shop sporting a special livery making it look like a Beluga Whale.

The livery was one of six choices submitted to Airbus employees through a poll where 20,000 people participated, with 40 per cent voting for the smiling whale.

The BelugaXL, the first of five, will undertake ground tests before taking to the skies in the summer and entering service in 2019.

The decision to build the BelugaXL was taken in November 2014 to address the transport and ramp up capacity requirements for Airbus beyond 2019.

The Beluga is based on the A330-200 Freighter and reuses a lot of existing components and equipment.