Spanish flag carrier Iberia presently operates an all-Airbus fleet. Models from the A320 and A320neo families serve the Madrid-based airline’s short-haul operations. Meanwhile, the A330 and next-generation A350 represent Iberia further afield. However, did you know that the carrier also used to operate the Airbus A300? Let’s explore its relationship with the type.
Iberia’s first Airbus design
As we have established, all of Iberia’s present aircraft are Airbus designs. The airline’s close relationship with the European manufacturing juggernaut goes back a long way, and it all started with the A300. This was Airbus’s first production model, as well as being the world’s first-ever widebody airliner to have just two engines. All in all, a game-changing plane.
In March this year, Iberia celebrated the fact that it was 40 years since its first A300 arrived. This was an A300B4-120, whose registration was EC-DLE. It bore the name Doñana, and entered service on a flight to Paris Orly. Iberia’s relationship with the A300 had begun.
The other deliveries
Aviation database ch-aviation.com lists a further seven A300s as having been on Iberia’s books. All of these also belonged to the A300B4 variant, which had entered service with Germanair in 1975. It had a greater fuel capacity than the A300B2, and wing-root Krüger flaps.
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In terms of when Iberia’s A300s arrived, 1981 proved the busiest year. In addition to the aforementioned first delivery, the Spanish carrier received a further three A300s in March and April that year. Another pair followed in February 1982.
Iberia’s final two A300s joined the airline towards the end of the decade, following a seven-year hiatus in the airline’s deliveries of the type. These joined in April 1989, although they had been re-registered by August that year. Having initially been designated as EC-273 and EC-274, they went on to fly under the registrations of EC-EON and EC-EOO respectively.
When did they leave?
The A300 proved a hit at Iberia, and all of the examples that it received in the 1980s remained with the airline for their entire careers. Interestingly, Planespotters.net lists one more example that Iberia briefly operated leased from TransAer International Airlines in October 1997. Registered as EI-CJK, it had an all-economy 314-seat cabin.
Other than that, all of Iberia’s A300s just about made it into the 21st century. January of that year saw its first A300, EC-DLE, leave the fleet for scrapping in Madrid aged just shy of 20 years. This fate also befell EC-EOO. 2001 saw one more departure, that of EC-EON.
This left Iberia with five remaining A300s, but all of these would be gone by the end of the following year. They departed in June 2002, bringing the airline’s relationship with the A300 to an end. That being said, one example has been partially preserved. Specifically, the front section of EC-DNQ now serves as a crew trainer in Valencia.
Did you ever fly on one of Iberia’s A300s? If so, when, and where did the Airbus widebody take you? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!