British Airways owner IAG has announced the launch of a new low-cost, long-haul airline. It will be called Level and will be based in Barcelona. It is expected that it will start flying in June 2017, with destinations such as Los Angeles, Oakland, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana. The airline will start operating with two new Airbus A330 planes and will create up to 250 jobs in Barcelona. The planes will be fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats for those willing to pay for selected seats and meals. Fares will start from 99 euros/$149 each way.
Willie Walsh, International Airlines Group chief executive, said that Level would become its fifth main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling. He added: “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.”
Travel writer Simon Calder sees IAG’s move as an attempt to echo Lufthansa’s plan to offer low-cost flights to destinations in the Caribbean and Asia on Eurowings. The new airline is also a response to the challenge presented by low-cost newcomers such as Norwegian Airlines. However, people say that this is good news for travellers as more competition will put downward pressure on fares.