Iberia has taken delivery of its first A350-900 today at the Airbus factory in Toulouse.
Taking part in the handover were Iberia’s Chairman and CEO Luis Gallego, members of the airline’s management committee, and some of the employees who have been working on the A350-900 project, among others. Also attending were Airbus CEO Thomas Enders, and the Project Director of XWB in Rolls-Royce Engines, Gareth Davis.
“This aircraft is a symbol of all the changes being made in Iberia”, Iberia Chairman and CEO Luis Gallego said during the ceremony. “In the past few years we transformed Iberia for the sake of survival. Now, we are undertaking a new transformation for the sake of excellence. And this aircraft perfectly represents this change of cycle.”
The A350-900, registered as EC-MXV, and named for Plácido Domingo, is the first unit of its type boasting improved aerodynamic performance and structure, thanks to the use of a large proportion of composite material in its manufacture, along with a new design of some parts like the wings and window frames. The reinforced landing gear enables the airplane to take off with a maximum weight of up 280 tonnes. Two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, each delivering 84,000 pounds of thrust, power the 348-seat aircraft.
The airline also recently took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft.
For the 1 hour 15 minute flight ftoday rom Toulouse to Madrid, the new A350-900 used a blend of sustainable jet fuel including bio-fuels.
The first commercial flights of the “Plácido Domingo” will be made on routes from Madrid to London and to Paris starting on 20 July. From the 4 August the new aircraft will be used for Madrid-New York flights.
The acquisition of the A350-900 is part of Iberia’s fleet replacement and expansion programme which began in 2011. Since then, a total of 56 new aircraft have been ordered for the Spanish airline: eight A330-300s and 12 A330-200s have already entered service, and are to be joined by 16 A350-900s, and 20 A320Neos. Iberia has also renovated its 17 A340-600s, installing all-new cabin interiors, individual entertainment systems, and Wi-Fi connections.