Iberia’s Boeing 737 Years: A Summary

Spanish flag carrier will celebrate a century of operations later in the decade, having first taken to the skies in 1927. It has operated a wide range of aircraft during this time, including two variants from Boeing’s best-selling 737 family. Let’s take a look at the airline’s relationship with the popular twin-engine narrowbody, which lasted from 1988 to 2001.

Iberia Boeing 737
Five of Iberia’s Boeing 737s were examples of the -400 variant. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

The 737-300

According to data from ATDB.aero, Iberia has operated a total of nine aircraft from the Boeing 737 family over the years. Of these, four were examples of the 737-300 variant. This version of Boeing’s best-selling twinjet was the first variant from its 737 Classic series to take to the skies commercially, and it entered service with USAir in 1984.

Iberia received its first three 737-300s slightly later, in 1988. Two (EC-EAK and EC-153, which became EC-EHM) arrived on lease from Air Europa, while the third (EC-EHX) came from Viva Air. The Air Europa examples came onboard in February and March that year, while Viva Air’s aircraft joined in December. However, by 1991, they had all moved on.

Iberia’s fourth and final 737-300 joined the party somewhat later, coming onboard in September 1999. Registered as EC-FFN, this ex-Viva Air plane joined Frontier in January 2000. It has since become a freighter, and remains active for TUM AeroCarga today.

Viva Air Boeing 737-300
Two Iberia 737-300s began their lives at Viva Air. Photo: Steve Knight via Flickr

The 737-400

As it happens, the 737-300 wasn’t the only variant from the 737 Classic series that Iberia operated. Indeed, it also flew the larger -400 version, which entered service with Piedmont Airlines in 1995. This design was slightly more numerous at Iberia, with five examples. All of these aircraft joined the Spanish flag carrier on lease deals from Air Europa.

They did so in 1998, with their arrivals taking place in March (EC-FXP and EC-GAZ) and April (EC-FXQ, EC-GBN, and EC-GBI) that year. EC-FXP’s exit date is unclear, although it is known that it went on to join Air Horizons in 2005. Meanwhile, EC-FXQ had a rather short stint at the Spanish flag carrier, and returned to Air Europa after six months in October 1998.

As for the other three 737-400s, they all returned to Air Europa in 2001. EC-GPI did so on May 15th that year, while EC-GAZ and EC-GBN followed on November 1st. Interestingly, all five ex-Iberia 737-400s remain active today, flying passengers and cargo in a wide range of locations worldwide, including Italy, Israel, and Mexico.

Air Europa Boeing 737-400
Iberia leased all of its Boeing 737-400s from Air Europa. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

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An all-Airbus fleet today

Iberia’s present fleet is a rather different affair to how it looked in its 737 years. Indeed, the Spanish flag carrier no longer operates any Boeing planes, preferring to opt for an all-Airbus fleet. According to data from ch-aviation.com, the airline presently has 92 aircraft at its disposal. Of these, the majority are members of Airbus’s A320 and A320neo families.

Specifically, Iberia flies five A319s, 25 A320s, eight A320neos, 14 A321s, and four A321neos. It also has nine A320neos, three A321neos, and eight A321XLRs on order. In terms of Iberia’s long-haul fleet, this consists of 18 A330-200s, eight A330-300s, and nine A350-900s. The Spanish flag carrier is also set to receive a further 11 examples of the A350-900.

Did you ever fly on one of Iberia’s Boeing 737s? If so, can you remember which variant? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!