Iberia names new Airbus A350 for famed navigator Elcano

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  • In a tribute to the Spanish sea captain who completed Magellan’s and Elcano’s circumnavigation of the globe 500 years ago
  • The new aircraft is Iberia’s fifth A350-900

As of today, Spain famed seaman Juan Sebastián Elcano will take to the skies. Iberia has named its new Airbus A350-900 for the man who succeeded Ferdinand Magellan as commander of the first ever round-the-world expedition, which set sail westward in 1519 with five ships and about 270 men. Only one ship and a score of men returned to Spain in 1522. Magellan was killed during a battle in the Philippines.

The naming ceremony for the new aircraft was attended by members of Iberia’s Management Committee, including Chief Operations Officer, Rafael Jiménez Hoyos, a high-ranking delegation of the Spanish Navy, head by the GS Chief Admiral of the Spanish Navy, members of the organising committee of the Elcano Fifth Centenary celebrations, and relatives of Horacio Echevarrieta, Iberia’s founder and first president, who owned the shipyards where the Spanish Navy’s four-master training ship, also named the Juan Sebastián Elcano, was built in 1927, the year of Iberia’s founding.

Mr Jiménez Hoyos said, “From Iberia, we want to make a small tribute to this those brave seamen, the artifices of what we know today as globalisation, a reminder that the world is very big, but within our reach.

I would like to thank Iberia for the help in spreading the name of Juan Sebastián Elcano, a Spanish seaman, whose enterprise changed Spanish and world’s history thanks to his tenacity, fearlessness, bravery and sailor skills,” commented the GS Chief Admiral of the Spanish Navy, Right Honourable Teodoro López.

A new generation experience

The Juan Sebastián Elcano is the fifth A350 to be delivered to Iberia from an order of 20 units, to be completed by the end of 2023.

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, fibreglass, 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 onboard systems with Operations and lT infrastructure.

More space and comfort on board

Iberia’s A350-900 aircraft has three cabins and 348 seats: 31 in the Business Class, 24 in the Premium Economy cabin and 293 in Economy Class.

The distribution of spaces in the aircraft, including the galley, 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.

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.

Madrid, 4 June 2019

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