International Airlines Group (IAG), which operates BA and Iberia, has unveiled plans to launch a new long-haul low-cost carrier.
Known as LEVEL, the new airline will take off in June 2017 from its home base of Barcelona. Initially it will provide services to four destinations in the Americas: Los Angeles (twice a week from 1 June), Oakland (three times a week from 2 June), Punta Cana (twice a week from 10 June) and Buenos Aires (three times a week from 17 June).
Initially, all services will be operated using a fleet of two Airbus A330 aircraft fitted with 314 seats – 293 in economy and 21 in premium economy.
Passengers in the premium cabin will be offered free checked baggage, meals, seat selection and movies, while those in economy will have the chance to pay for all these services. Wi-Fi will be available to all passengers at a charge.
“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,” said IAG’s chief executive, Willie Walsh.
“It will complement our existing airline portfolio and further diversify our current customer base. “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 added.
LEVEL will become IAG’s fifth main airline brand, following Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling. The launch follows the recent trend of major European airlines introducing long-haul LCCs; Lufthansa has already launched Eurowings, and Air France-KLM is planning to enter the market this year with Boost. This is in response to the success of airlines like Norwegian, which has been rapidly ramping up its long-haul operations.