AIRBUS celebrated 30 years of the Beluga flying out of Broughton with an event at the Storyhouse in Chester.

The iconic transporter aircraft has been a daily sight in the skies over Flintshire for the last 30 years.

And last week, over 600 aviation enthusiasts attended the event marking the landmark.

The Leader:

Guests included Airbus' Jean-Pierre Cousserans (head of Beluga operations), Philippe Sabo (head of transport operations) and Paul Kilmister, (head of supply chain at Airbus UK).

They discussed the history of the Beluga, right back from the Super Guppy that operated in the 70s (which was in fact a Boeing aircraft), right through to the BelugaXL we see flying today. Both shared insights from playing key roles in the design, operations and life of the Beluga. ‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‍‌‌‌

The conversation followed never before seen images of the aircraft being constructed, and how in fact, the aircraft is built, designed off an A330. 


They discussed the weird and wonderful things that have flown in the Beluga including the Delacroix painting (Liberty Leading the People) from Paris to Tokyo. The canvas was too big to fit into a passenger aircraft measuring at just under three metres high.

Recently, Airbus also restarted transport operations for the aerospace industry and has transported helicopters and satellites. The Beluga also played a big role in transporting Covid supplies (masks) and humanitarian aid around the world.

At the end, the crowd was treated to a walk through of images from the inside of the beluga, from the upper cargo deck, flightdeck, coffee machine which is a pilot favourite, and the area the wings are transported in. 

And lucky audience members were also winners of a Beluga starter pack, consisting of Beluga merch. 

Paul Kilmister said: "It really was a fantastic event. It makes me incredibly proud to have such an engaging community surrounding our Beluga aircraft. To be able to share the behind the scenes of our wing operation with them this evening was really special."

The event also raised more than £9,000 for the Trussell Trust charity - which runs foodbanks across the country.