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MADRID, SPAIN - Iberia said goodbye to its last A340 last week, ending nearly 24 years of history with the type. The A340 has played a vital role in the Iberia fleet by connecting new long-haul destinations from Madrid.

The retirement makes the A340 a rarer aircraft, with the pandemic forcing airlines to retire the four-engine aircraft.

Iberia’s last A340 departed the fleet on August 17th.

The final Iberia A340-600 was registered EC-JLE and joined the fleet in September of 2005, making it just under 15 years old. The plane was named after Nobel prize-winning Spanish neurologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Iberia had a total of 14 A340-600 in the fleet, serving destinations from London to Santiago.

Iberia’s A340 was by no means an old fleet of aircraft. While the oldest one was 17 years old, the youngest one was just over ten years old. Many aircraft stay far beyond 20 years and continue to operate with no issues. The exit of the fleet will have a substantial financial impact on Iberia too.

Some of Iberia’s A340-600s are just over a decade old.

The airline’s original plan was to slowly phase out the A340, going from 14 to 10 this year, five by 2022, and all planes retired by 2025. However, the current pandemic has forced Iberia to retire the fleet immediately. The A340 is a casualty of the times, with its higher capacity and fuel consumption no longer justifiable in these tough financial times.

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