Iberia’s Airbus A340-600 aircraft, registered as EC-JLE, made its last scheduled flight from Quito to Madrid with 296 passengers and a crew headed by Captain Victor Alegre Ramirez on August 1. The aircraft, the last A340 in Iberia’s fleet, will be replaced by more modern and efficient Airbus A350s.
The airline’s A340-300 made history in 1993, breaking the record for the length of a commercial flight with its non-stop journey from Le Bourget in France to Auckland, New Zealand, which took 21 hours and 31 minutes.
A Brief History of Iberia A340
Iberia first deployed its Airbus A340s on flights to the Canary Islands, and then used them on route from Spain to New York, Mexico City, Bogota, Sao Paulo, and Santo Domingo. In January, 1998, they began to fly between Madrid and Santiago, Chile, a 13-hour flight, and Iberia’s longest route until it resumed Tokyo flights in 2016.
In 2003 A340-600s joined the Iberia fleet, and until 2011 they were the world’s longest airliners, at 75.3 meters, also boasting with the longest range – 14,600 km. Iberia named all its A340s for distinguished male Spaniards, including painter Salvador Dali, novelist, Jacinto Benavente, guitarist Andres Segovia, architect Antoni Gaudi, composer Isaac Albeniz, and painter Julio Romero de Torres.
Iberia’s A340s were also used to speed aid to victims of the natural disasters that devastated Guatemala, Chile, and Ecuador, and to take 450 tonnes of relief supplies to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. The shipments were organised by Mano a Mano, the relief organisation founded by Iberia employees.
10 years ago, in the summer of 2010, an Iberia A340 flew Spanish team, officials and fans to the World Football Cup in South Africa, which Spain won. In May, 2014 an A340 became the first Iberia aircraft to undertake a long-haul flight crewed solely by women, from Madrid to Sao Paulo. Later the pilot, Captain Mar Alguacil, heaped praise upon the aircraft, calling it “very elegant”. Another A340 opened Iberia’s new route to Tokyo in 2016. At the farewell party the pilot, Captain Jose Maria Ordovas, said “This is an aircraft that many of us will miss.”