This Iberia Airbus A319-111 (EC-KKS) has been painted in a special 1950 retro livery as part of Iberia’s 80th Birthday celebrations.
The aircraft will be used on the Madrid-Barcelona route, which was the company’s – and Spain’s – first scheduled commercial service, launched from this same airfield in 1927.
Tomorrow, December 14, is the 80th anniversary Iberia’s maiden commercial flight, from Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos airfield to Barcelona. It used three 10-passenger Rohrbach-Roland aeroplanes on the route. The company will return to its birthplace to celebrate the birthday.
The mark its 80th birthday, Iberia painted its latest Airbus A-319 in the colours used by the airline in the 1950s, when the airline first displayed a corporate image with its own colour scheme and a company logo.
The red horizontal stripe on the fuselage first appeared on the DC-4s that Iberia operated in 1946 when it launched flights to South America, and again on the Superconstellations that flew between Madrid and New York in the 1950s, when it entered the North Atlantic market where it has recently strengthened is position, adding flights to Boston and Washington, DC.
The logo showing a world globe embraced by the company’s winged insignia first appeared on the Convairs in 1957, and then on the Caravelles and DC-8s in the early 1960s.
The aircraft symbolising the company’s eighty years in the air and christened the “Halcón Peregrino” also bears the image of the peregrine falcon for which is its named, in Iberia’s campaign, launched last January, to raise awareness of endangered Spanish species. The company has now nameed nine aircraft for such species as the imperial eagle, the brown bear, and the Iberian lynx.
The nearly 700 million passengers flown by Iberia in the past eight decades are also to be honoured on this birthday, in the person of Pedro Gomendio, 76, probably the most veteran, who was only six years old when he made the first of his more than a thousand flights with Iberia. As a token of gratitude, Iberia’s chairman Fernando Conte will hand him a silver replica of a Rohrbach Roland, the only Iberia aircraft in which he never flew, since it went out of service before he made his first flight.
On December 14, 1927, the takeoff of Iberia’s maiden flight to Barcelona – and the first commercial flight ever made in Spain – was witnessed by King Alfonso XIII, along with Iberia’s first chairman, Horacio Echevarrieta, its first managing director, Daniel de Araoz, several government ministers, and other dignitaries.
Now, 80 years later, the company is commemorating that historic flight with a takeoff from the same Cuatro Vientos airfield in Madrid. On this occasion, however, the aircraft will first land at the new Terminal 4 in Madrid-Barajas airport to pick up the passengers for Barcelona.
The special aircraft will make two return flights to Barcelona, and on the following day will fly to Bilbao and Seville.
The new A-319 will wear its commemorative colours and design for about two years, when its first major overhaul is scheduled. Meanwhile, passengers will find information about the aircraft and Iberia’s history in their seat pockets.