IAG Announces New Trans-Atlantic Low-Cost Airline
In a statement, IAG CEO Willie Wash explains: “LEVEL is an exciting new IAG airline brand which will bring a stylish and modern approach to flying at prices that are even more affordable.”
IAG, of course, is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, and Aer Lingus. The addition of LEVEL, for IAG, is a new, low-cost, long haul carrier which will connect European countries with several other destinations across the Atlantic Ocean.
So, yes, this means that the competition for affordable flights between the United States and Europe is getting hotter.
The airline is based in Barcelona, Spain, and will first use a pair of Airbus A330 jets but will be operated by pilots and flight attendants from Iberia Air. Each of these aircrafts will be outfitted to carry 293 economy passengers and 21 premium economy passengers.
Walsh goes on to say, “Barcelona is Vueling’s home base and this will allow customers to connect from Vueling’s extensive European network onto LEVEL’s long haul flights. This is just the start. We’re really excited about the opportunities for expansion and we plan to bring LEVEL to other European destinations.”
Walsh also explains, “Level is an exciting new IAG airline brand which will bring a stylish and modern approach to flying at prices that are even more affordable. It will benefit from having the strength of one of the world’s largest airline groups behind it. Level will become IAG’s fifth main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. It will complement our existing airline portfolio and further diversify our current customer base.”
The company expects to begin passenger operations in June, with service from Barcelona to Los Angeles and Barcelona to Oakland routes. LEVEL will also service flights from Barcelona to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Barcelona to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic).
Warwick Business School professor of strategy, Loizos Heracleous, comments that budget airlines have much lower costs than their longer-established competitors and that means they are actually more profitable.
He says, “IAG’s decision to expand with a separate low-cost brand safeguards the image of its flag-carrier brands. The real trick will be to start Level on as high an efficiency point as possible, this being a crucial factor that distinguishes winners and losers in the budget airline sector.”