Airbus is contributing directly to the Hurricane Katrina emergency relief effort with the largest cargo carrier in the world. An Airbus aircraft, the A300-600 Super Transporter, nicknamed “Beluga” because of its unique, whale-like shape, is assisting the governments of France and the United Kingdom by transporting critical relief supplies being donated to aid victims in the Hurricane stricken areas of the United States.

The Beluga left Toulouse (France) on Wednesday morning, 7th September, and is expected to arrive in Mobile, Alabama (USA) with its cargo of disaster relief supplies on Thursday.

“On behalf of all Airbus employees, I would like to express our most sincere sympathies to all those who have been affected by this devastating hurricane,” said Gustav Humbert, President and CEO of Airbus. “Our thoughts are with the people of the US Gulf Coast region, and we want to do whatever we can to contribute to the aid operation and provide needed relief in these tragic circumstances.”

Airbus has placed one of its Belugas at the disposal of the French and U.K. governments. The aircraft is transporting much needed supplies, such as tents, camp-beds, blankets and other relief items. Loaded in Toulouse (France) and Chester (UK), the Beluga is en route to Brookley Field in Mobile, where the supplies will be unloaded for distribution in the affected Gulf Coast region.

“After the Tsunami at the beginning of the year, this disaster shows that no part of the world can be spared from such terrible events and that humanity is affected in a similar way everywhere,” Mr. Humbert added. “It is gratifying to Airbus to be able to offer the unique capabilities of the Beluga to help people in need.”

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.