International Airlines Group, the parent company of Aer Lingus (Ireland), British Airways (UK) and Iberia (Spain) is now creating a new airline to add to its portfolio; Level. Level is to be a low-cost, long-haul airline that will start flying out of Barcelona starting in June 2017, with flights to Los Angeles, Oakland / San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana. Fares went on sale today, starting at €99/$149 one-way.
The airline is to use two A330 aircraft painted into its own livery (pictured above), which will be operated by Iberia flight and cabin crew. IAG says that the new airline will create up to 250 jobs in Barcelona.
Level’s A330 aircraft will be configured with 21 Premium Economy seats and 293 Economy seats. The Economy cabin will be in a 2-4-2 configuration, and each seat comes with a personal seatback TV.
Seats in Premium Economy will be in a 2-3-2 configuration, with each seat having a pitch of 37 inches, a personal TV, and complimentary use of noise-canceling headphones.
As other low-cost carriers, Level plans to charge passengers in the Economy cabin for most “add-ons”, such as checked baggage, seat selection, and meals, however, Premium Economy passengers will get these for free. Contrary to some low-cost carriers, especially those going across the Atlantic, Level plans to offer wifi onboard, for a fee to all passengers. Level passengers will also get the opportunity to earn frequent flyer points as part of the Avios program, which includes Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling as member airlines.
The creation of Level marks the expansion of low-cost service across the Atlantic, including Norwegian’s use of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, as well as Boeing 737 MAX aircraft starting Summer 2017, as well as Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings, which operates Airbus A330-200 aircraft to leisure destinations in the United States and the Caribbean. Level’s establishment is a strong move by IAG to separate its low-cost and flag carrier operations, exemplified by Iberia and its low-cost subsidiary, Iberia Express. Passengers will no doubt enjoy the low fares that Level will provide, however, only time will tell if the expansion of the Trans-Atlantic low-cost market will be sustainable, and if Level will be successful in attracting passengers.