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Formed and started operations in 2017. Regional & international, jet passenger & cargo low cost carrier (LCC) operations.
SPAIN (KINGDOM OF SPAIN) WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1479, IT COVERS AR AREA OF 504,750 SQ KM, ITS POPULATION IS 41 MILLION, ITS CAPITAL CITY IS MADRID, AND ITS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS SPANISH.
March 2017: The International Airlines Group (IAG) launched its long-anticipated low-cost, long-haul carrier March 17, naming it "Level."
The new airline will be based at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, the hub of (IAG)’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ), which is expected to act as a feeder for the new long-haul operation. Level will start operations in June 2017, with 2 initial USA destinations of Los Angeles (2x-weekly) and San Francisco Oakland (3x-weekly), plus Buenos Aires, Argentina (3x-weekly) and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (2x-weekly). Further European cities will be added to the route map later, but an (IAG) spokeswoman declined to name them.
Initial equipment will consist of 2 new Airbus A330-200s, part of a batch of five options previously taken out with Airbus. More aircraft will be added to the Level fleet as the route map expands, the spokeswoman said. The 2 initial aircraft will be in a 2-class configuration, with 21PY premium economy and 293Y economy seats.
Level (LVL) will be orientated toward the leisure market: “We’re very much targeting people that want to fly long-haul, but haven’t been able to afford it in the past,” the spokeswoman said. The airline’s name was chosen because, “We believe this brand is about leveling the playing field so more people have the chance to fly long-haul.”
The 2 initial aircraft will be operated by crews from Spanish flag carrier Iberia (IBE), another of (IAG)’s brands. “Level (LVL) will become (IAG)’s 5th main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ),” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said. “Barcelona is Vueling (VUZ)’s home base and this will allow customers to connect from (VUZ)’s extensive European network onto Level’s long-haul flights.”
Walsh has long been an admirer of Norwegian (NWG)’s young, but rapidly expanding, low-cost long-haul operation.
Like other low cost carriers (LCC)s, Level’s fares will be un-bundled, with economy (Y)-class passengers adding services at additional cost. Premium-economy (PY) passengers will have complimentary checked baggage plus a cabin bag, meals, seat selection and in-flight entertainment.
All passengers will have access to what (IAG) describes as a wide range of on-board entertainment options, but high-speed internet connectivity will come at a price (the minimum charge will be €8.99/($9.65)).
June 2017: News Item A-1: "Walsh: (IAG)’s Level and Vueling on Standby to Fill Alitalia Capacity" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann firstname.lastname@example.org, June 30, 2017.
International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said (IAG) member airlines Level (LVL) and Vueling (VUZ) are prepared to provide immediate additional capacity if Alitalia (ALI) is forced to downsize and restructure further.
Speaking on the sidelines of an Airlines for Europe (A4E) event at the European Parliament in Brussels June 29, Walsh said Spanish low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ), an (IAG) member airline, “has a significant operation in Italy and we will [also] operate our new long-haul (LCC) Level (LVL) from Rome Fiumicino.”
The (IAG)’s new Level airline (LVL) launched flights from Barcelona June 1. “The passenger demand is absolutely fantastic,” Walsh said. “Level (LVL) operates 2 Airbus A330s [and] 3 more aircraft are expected to join the fleet in 2018.”
Walsh said the (IAG) is not interested in acquiring Alitalia (ALI).
“We had been very clear: any reduction of capacity [from (ALI)] as a result of [its] restructuring will be filled,” Walsh said, adding it would not possible for the (IAG) to take over aircraft from (ALI), saying nearly all of (ALI)’s aircraft are leased and mostly Irish-registered.
Responding to a question about (IAG) member airline British Airways (BAB)’s plans to wet-lease 9 Qatar Airways (QTA) Airbus A320 family aircraft to fly its passengers during a planned 16-day mixed fleet cabin crew strike set for July 1 to 16, Walsh said “British Airways (BAB) will continue flying. Where [there] are disruptions [by the strike], we [will] use capacity from other airlines like we did in the past. We did it before and we [will] do it again. There is nothing new in this,” Walsh said. “We demonstrated [this] successfully on other occasions. When we say we operate, we operate.”
November 2017: News Item A-1: International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh is aiming to finalize Spanish long-haul (LCC) Level (LVL)’s next steps before year-end and hire a dedicated (CEO) for the business. Barcelona-based Level (LVL), which launched June 1, operates 2 Airbus A330s on services to Buenos Aires in Argentina, Los Angeles, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and San Francisco (Oakland), California. “Level (LVL) is doing extremely well. We’re very pleased with it,” Walsh said.
December 2017: International Airlines Group (IAG) long-haul (LCC) Level (LVL) will take over the French air operator’s certificate (AOC) of premium carrier "OpenSkies," when (LVL) starts operating from Paris Orly in July 2018. Currently, (LVL) is operating as a virtual airline from Barcelona, using aircraft and crews sourced on wet lease from the (IAG)’s Spanish airline Iberia (IBE). Level does not have its own (AOC).
February 2018: News Item A-1: Encouraged by much-improved results across all airline units and robust unit revenues, the International Airlines Group (IAG) plans to expand capacity significantly in 2018, a move met with concerns by investors. (IAG) parent company of Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Level (LVL) and Vueling (VUZ), anticipates a +6.7% capacity increase for 2018, compared to a +2.6% expansion last year.
News Item A-2: The International Airlines Group (IAG) is reviewing the future fleet composition of its new long-haul low cost carrier (LCC) Level (LVL), now that (LVL) has produced encouraging results in its 1st 7 months of flying. “Our confidence in the model today is stronger than before the launch,” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said on February 23. “We need to look at what is the right aircraft going forward.” According to (IAG)’s current planning, Level (LVL) will be flying at least 15 aircraft in 2022.
July 2018: News Item A-1: LEVEL (LVL), the International Airlines Group (IAG)’s latest foray into the low-cost market after Spanish carrier Vueling (VUZ), commenced year-round operations from Vienna (VIE) to London Gatwick (LGW) and Palma de Mallorca (PMI) on July 17.
Flights to Barcelona (BCN) started on July 23, with incumbents Eurowings (EWG) and (VUZ) connecting the 2 cities 13x- and 14x-weekly respectively. All 3 services use ex-airberlin (BER) 210-seat A321s. The 1,249 km Gatwick route will be served 14x-weekly, and easyJet (EZY) offers 18x-weekly rotations between the 2 capitals using a combination of 156-seat A319s and 180-seat A320s.
Meanwhile, the 1,456 km service to Palma de Mallorca will operate daily, with Eurowings (EWG) (15x-weekly), Laudamotion (NKI) (23x-) and Vueling (4x-) also serving the city. LEVEL (LVL) is the latest entrant into the increasingly competitive Vienna market, with the airport operator pitching to low cost carriers (LCC)s in particular to fill the void left by the collapse of airberlin (BER) in October 2017.
8 other (LCC)s operate from Vienna: easyJet (EZY), Eurowings (EWG), Laudamotion (NKI), Norwegian (NWG), Pegasus Airlines (PGS), Transavia (TAV), Vueling (VUZ) and Wizz Air (WZZ).
LEVEL (LVL) launched flights on its latest route on July 30, a 3x-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) link between its new short-haul base in Vienna (VIE) and Malaga (AGP).
This becomes (LVL)’s 3rd route to Spain from (VIE), the Austrian capital after Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, and its 4th overall, having also introduced services to London Gatwick on July 17.
(LVL) will serve its Malaga route using its fleet of A321s, with it becoming the 4th operator on the 2,132 km city pair. (LVL) joins (EWG), (WZZ) and (NKI) on the route, with 3 carriers combined already offering 8x-weekly services.
Along with Malaga and the 3 other routes that have already launched, (LVL) will also commence services from Vienna to Alicante, Bilbao, Dubrovnik, Ibiza, Larnaca, Milan Malpensa, Olbia, Paris (CDG), Valencia and Venice Marco Polo before mid-August, with 84x-weekly departures being offered from (VIE), the Austrian capital.