In Pictures: Flying whale takes to the skies as Airbus unveils BelugaXL

The plane was given facial markings similar to the ocean creature for its maiden flight at Toulouse-Blagnac airport.

Press Association
Last updated: 20 July 2018 - 6.42am

Anyone who thought they saw a flying whale over France on Thursday was in fact watching the maiden flight of a new plane.

The Airbus BelugaXL took off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport complete with facial markings that underlined its similarity with the whale it is named after.

Airbus was pleased with the first aerial adventure of its new product and tweeted “Whale done!” when the plane returned to base.

France Airbus BelugaXL
The Airbus BelugaXL on its take-off roll (Frederic Scheiber/AP)
France Airbus BelugaXL
The Airbus BelugaXL rises for the first time (Frederic Scheiber/AP)
Open-water sanctuary for Beluga Whales
A real Beluga whale (Aaron Chown/PA)
France Airbus BelugaXL
The engineers wave from the deck of the Airbus BelugaXL after successfully completing its first flight at Toulouse-Blagnac airport (Frederic Scheiber/AP)
France Airbus BelugaXL
The Airbus BelugaXL taxis after successfully completing its first flight (Frederic Scheiber/AP)
France Airbus BelugaXL
The Airbus BelugaXL prepares to land (Frederic Scheiber/AP)
France Airbus BelugaXL
Engineers wave from the deck (Frederic Scheiber/AP)
France Airbus BelugaXL
The Airbus BelugaXL is welcomed back (Frederic Scheiber/AP)

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