Orders show restructuring 'starting to bear fruit': Iberia chief

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Chief executive Luis Gallego argues that Iberia is heading in the right direction after parent IAG converted eight Airbus A350-900 options into firm orders and secured eight A330-200s for the Spanish unit.

"Both aircraft will provide cost efficiencies and environmental benefits," he says in a video address, adding that "the announcement confirms that the restructuring programme at Iberia is starting to bear fruit and allows investment in the future of our company".

The new aircraft will continue Iberia's widebody fleet renewal programme. They will replace 16 Airbus A340s between 2015 and 2020.

During 2014's first half, the carrier phased out two Airbus A340-300s. At 30 June, the Spanish carrier operated eight A330-300s, five A340-300s and 17 A340-600s.

IAG has left the door open as to the financing of the new A330-200 batch.

Iberia's eight A330-300s, delivered between February 2013 and April this year, were acquired by BOC Aviation under a sale-and-leaseback agreement upon delivery.

"The eight A330 aircraft will be obtained either by converting existing options from the 2011 Airbus order or from the operating lease market, depending on financial and delivery terms," says IAG.

The group – which also encompasses British Airways and Vueling made a half-year operating profit of €230 million ($308 million), reversing a loss in 2013's first half.

For the three-month period to 30 June, Iberia transformed a loss to an operating surplus of €16 million.