Iberia has signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of three of Airbus’ latest and largest airliner, the A340-600. The aircraft will join Iberia’s current fleet of A340-300s from June 2003, and will be operated on the Spanish flag carrier’s major hub to hub routes from Madrid to Mexico and Buenos Aires.
The A340-600s will replace the carrier`s three ageing 747-300s currently in service, affording considerable savings due to its lower fuel consumption, better operational efficiency and greater cargo capacity. Iberia`s configuration of the new aircraft features a spacious 342-seat layout, offering accommodation for ten passengers in First class, 42 in Business and 290 in Economy. Powered by four Rolls Royce Trent 500 engines, the aircraft will also be equipped with the very latest in passenger entertainment and communication systems.
“The A340-600, which is the A340-300’s larger sister, will contribute to furthering our leadership in the highly competitive American market, especially on routes to Latin America where we offer daily links to all main cities”, said Xabier de Irala, President of Iberia. “In addition the A340`s operational commonality with our single-aisle A320 fleet generates remarkable cost savings.”
Indeed, the new A340-600, certificated by the airworthiness authorities in May, is a fully-fledged member of the leading A330/A340 Family. It has the same type rating as the A340-300, enabling pilots to fly either aircraft type with a single licence endorsement. True to Airbus’ unique family concept, it also offers an exceptional degree of operational commonality with all other Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft, so pilots can transition from one type to another with only minor additional training time.
“It is a source of great pride to Airbus that Iberia, which insists on the best, has renewed its con-fidence in our products and selected our latest aircraft, the A340-600”, said No‘l Forgeard, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer.
Iberia, an Airbus customer since 1978, and the largest in Southern Europe, has ordered a total of 101 aircraft from Airbus, comprising 21 A340s and 74 A320 Family aircraft. Currently, Iberia operates a fleet of 17 A340s, four A319s, 55 A320s and four A321s.
Airbus` A330/A340 Family offers the best passenger comfort in its class, consistently emerging as the passengers` choice in independent surveys. It remains the market leader, with well over 700 firm orders from 60 customers and a current market share of 55 per cent with respect to competing models.
A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.