Iberia A350 order lifts Airbus and GKN after Emirates cancellation

August 1, 2014

Bristol aerospace giants Airbus and GKN received a boost today when British Airways group International Airlines Group (IAG) converted options to buy eight Airbus long-range A350-900 aircraft into firm orders for its Spanish airline Iberia.

The airline becomes a new customer for the fast-selling A350 XWB (extra wide body), which is due to make its first commercial flight later this year. Today’s order goes some way to overcoming the potentially-damaging impact of Emirates’ decision in June to cancel an order for 70 A350s. It was Airbus’s largest-ever cancellation.

Airbus, employing 4,000 people at its Filton plant, has around 750 A350s on order from 38 customers worldwide. The pioneering aircraft, which Airbus claims will reduce fuel burn for operators by 25%, is being built using innovative lightweight composite materials for its fuselage and wings.

The A350’s pioneering wings were designed by engineers based at the giant Filton plant while GKN Aerospace makes large sections of the wings at its plant at Avonmouth.

The A350 has three versions ranging in size from 276 to 369 seats.

“We are very proud that IAG has chosen the A350-900 aircraft for Iberia. We welcome a new operator of the most efficient mid-size long-haul aircraft in the market,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A350XWB is the aircraft of choice in its category and set to become a reference among passengers for its unrivalled cabin comfort and quietness.”

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