LONDON — Iberia took delivery of their first Airbus A350-900 aircraft today at the manufacturer’s assembly line in Toulouse.

This is the first of 16 units that the carrier is due to receive over the next three years, with the final delivery expected to be completed by 2021 respectively.

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“This aircraft is a symbol of all the changes being made in Iberia,” said the airline’s Chairman and CEO, Luis Gallego, 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.”

Photo: Clement Alloing

“We are tremendously proud of Airbus’ long-standing relationship with Iberia and to be delivering its first A350-900,” added Tom Enders, Airbus CEO.

“Iberia was a founding member airline of IAG, a group that with this delivery successfully operates every member of our commercial aircraft family, from the A318 to the largest A380 and now the most modern A350. Congratulations to the teams of Iberia and IAG.”

EC-MXV, the A350-900 named after Spanish Opera Singer Plácido Domingo will offer Iberia a maximum takeoff weight of 280 tonnes as well as delivering 84,000 pounds of thrust in each Rolls-Royce Trent XWB Engine.

The aircraft has 348 seats in a three-class configuration, offering 31 seats in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy as well as 293 in the standard Economy seating.

Photo: Clement Alloing

All seats have larger luggage bins and galleys as well as individual entertainment screens. Fliers will also get to use the onboard KU Wi-Fi that is powered by Panasonic.

Business Class seats, the aisles are extra wide as well as offering an 18’’ display screen as well as additional legroom.

The one hour and 15-minute flight to Madrid from Toulouse was powered by a blend of sustainable jet fuel, including biofuels, something that Hong-Kong based Cathay Pacific did when they received their first A350-1000 as well as their subsequent A350-900s respectively.

The first commercial flights that EC-MXV will operate are scheduled to be on the Madrid to London and Paris routes.

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The airline will run the A350 on these segments from July 20 for around two weeks for training and familiarization.

The aircraft will then be transferred onto the airline’s long-haul network from Madrid to New York, starting on August 4.

This is yet again another milestone for the A350 Program as Iberia becomes the 17th carrier to receive an A350 variant.

The Spanish flag carrier will ultimately be using these aircraft to enhance replace their older planes, such as the A340-600s.