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.
During the handover ceremony a video was shown of Spain’s celebrated tenor Plácido Domingo, for whom the new airplane was named, and a song composed especially for the event by Javier Limón was presented.
“This aircraft is a symbol of all the changes being made in Iberia“, Iberia’s 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.
More Room and Comfort for Passengers
This A350-900 is the first new-generation aircraft to join the Iberia fleet, and it will be joined by 15 more units of the same type from now until 2021. The key data follow:
|Cabin width||6 m.|
|Cabin height||17 m.|
Of the total of 348 seats on the Iberia’s A350-900, 31 are in the Business Class, 24 are in the Premium Economy cabin, and 293 are in the Economy seating section.
The distribution of spaces in the aircraft, including gallery, gives more room to passengers and larger spaces for storing hand luggage in all three seating sections.
All seats have individual entertainment screens, power points for electronic devices, and access to on-board KU Wi-Fi by Panasonic.
In Business class, aisles are extra wide, display screens are 18″, seats are larger with more leg room, and there are additional spaces for storing personal items, as well as an adjustable reading lamp.
A draft-free ventilation system with ozone filters renews all the air inside the cabin every 2-3 minutes, and assures a comfortable humidity level of between 11% and 16%. The aircraft has seven independent temperature control zones which may be regulated differently. The windows which correspond to each row of seats are panoramic, and LED lights are used for all interior illumination. In addition, the A350-900 is now the quietest aircraft on the market, further enhancing Iberia passengers’ flying experience.
The most efficient plane on the market
The A350-900 is a new generation aircraft using the latest technology and materials in its construction and operation. Some 70% of its structure consists of modern materials such as carbon fibre, fibre-glass, titanium, and aluminium alloys. This lessens the aircraft weight, as does the surface paint which is applied electrostatically as a powder, so less paint covers better. This means both fuel consumption and emissions are some 25% less than those of similar aircraft.
The delivery of the first A350-900 also marks the launch of a new concept of airline operations management called eOperations. It allows the storage of flight documentation digitally on an electronic support, and to integrate on-board systems with Operations and lT infrastructure.
Iberia and its staff have made painstaking preparations for the incorporation of the new aircraft in 270 different programmes since September 2016, ranging from the purchase of materials, tools, and ground equipment to the training of flight crews and aircraft maintenance technicians, along with flight and maintenance operations, engineering, and technical documentation.
Flying with Bio-fuels
For the 01:15 h- flight from Toulouse to Madrid, the new A350-900 will burn 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.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) June 26, 2018