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).