A new International Airlines Group (IAG) low-fare unit named Level will begin flying from Barcelona to Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Buenos Aires and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic in June, the British Airways parent announced Friday. Plans call for Level to fly two new Airbus A330s branded in its own livery and fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. Flight and cabin crew from IAG subsidiary Iberia will initially staff the new unit, creating up to 250 jobs based in Barcelona.
IAG said although it chose Barcelona—the home base of its low-fare Vueling unit—to launch its new operation, it will look to expand its flights from other European cities.”This is just the start,” said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh. “We’re really excited about the opportunities for expansion and we plan to bring Level to other European destinations.”
Level began selling tickets on its website Friday for fares starting at €99 ($149). Premium economy passengers will get free checked luggage, meals, seat selection and movies, while economy passengers will need to pay from a menu of choices. Level passengers can earn and redeem miles on Avios, the so-called loyalty currency for IAG's airlines.
Level becomes IAG’s fifth main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. “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,” said Walsh. “It will benefit from having the strength of one of the world's largest airline groups behind it…It will complement our existing airline portfolio and further diversify our current customer base.”
With the move to launch Level, IAG joins Lufthansa in an effort to tap into the growing market for European-based long-haul low-fare services pioneered by Norwegian Airlines. Lufthansa recently announced plans to integrate its Brussels Airlines subsidiary into its Eurowings budget unit and outline plans for long-haul services by mid-year.