Iberia is buying eight A330-300s with options for eight more to phase out 16 higher fuel burn A340s in a move that signals increasing fuel prices could again spur fleet modernization.

Delivieries of the new order are to start in second half of 2012 and run into the first half of 2014.

Iberia parent, International Airlines Group, says “the new aircraft will be more cost effective to operate as they are around 15% more fuel efficient than the aircraft that they replace.”

Iberia says its longhaul fleet currently consists of 18 A340-300 and 17 A340-600 aircraft.