IAG launches a new airline in Austria with just three weeks notice!

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To give Willie Walsh and the rest of the IAG management team some credit, they don’t mess around when they want to get something done.

IAG, the parent company of British Airways, announced yesterday that it is launching a new airline based in Austria.  In three weeks time.

The new airline will NOT use the Vueling branding, which is interesting.  I wonder if the huge service issues that Vueling has had in the last couple of years – primarily when Alex Cruz was running it ….. – mean that IAG feels that the brand is ‘tainted’?

The new airline will be called LEVEL.  This is, as most of you will know, the name of the start-up low-cost long-haul airline owned by IAG.  This currently operates out of Barcelona with Paris due to start imminently.

Why is IAG doing this?

You may remember that IAG was keen to buy Austrian carrier NIKI from the ashes of airberlin.  That deal fell through and Niki Lauda ended up buying back the carrier with financial support from Ryanair.

As it happens, Vueling actually had an Austrian operating certificate issued in the name of Anisec Lufthart.  This enabled it to launch LEVEL in Austria very quickly.  Legally, the low-cost LEVEL flights will be part of Vueling.

(The LEVEL flights from Paris will legally be operated by British Airways under its OpenSkies banner.  LEVEL flights from Barcelona are legally operated by Iberia.)

Fourteen destinations launched, including Gatwick

LEVEL will fly to fourteen destinations from Vienna.

It will initially use four A321 aircraft, in an all-economy 210 seat layout.  The first one, ironically, is an ex-airberlin / NIKI plane!

The first two, launching on 17th July, will be Palma Majorca and London Gatwick.

Over the following four weeks, LEVEL will add Barcelona, Malaga, Venice, Olbia, Ibiza, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Milan Malpensa, Dubrovnik, Larnaca, Alicante, Valencia and Bilbao.

In-flight service

Lead-in prices will include one item of hand baggage.

Checked baggage and in-flight food and drink will be chargeable.

Flights can be bought at flylevel.com.  If you are looking for a cheap trip to Vienna this Summer and can get to Gatwick, you might get a good deal here.

I’m intrigued to see how this works out, and even more intrigued as to how the separation between Vueling and LEVEL will work.

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Comments

  1. SIDIDDLY says:

    O/T Just a quick query. I have priced up a cheap flight from AMS to BKK with BA in October. I know that the flight must be boarded at origin rather than Heathrow but on the way back the flight arrives at LHR at 18:20 and the connection is next day from LGW at 07:45. What are the implications if I just skip the last leg?

    • the real harry1 says:

      if you book direct (not thru an agency), very unlikely anything would happen for a one-off – agencies have been fined for this happening on ‘their’ bookings but BA have no history of going after individuals for further payment

      I think serial/ repeat offenders can get blacklisted, though

  2. “The LEVEL flights from Paris will legally be operated by British Airways under its OpenSkies banner. LEVEL flights from Barcelona are legally operated by Iberia.”

    It was announced last year that the AOC will transfer from BA to IAG, so the flights wont be legally operated by BA

    • Yes, they will. IAG is just a holding company, it does not have an AOC. What was announced last year was that the plan was for Level to ultimately be a “proper” airline with an AOC of its own (rather than a virtual one piggybacking on other group airlines’ AOC as it is now). Until this happens, the information in the article is correct.

  3. Smart move! Expecting nothing less from Willie Walsh. They will have had plenty of time to study the Niki books (incidentally the one part of Air Berlin that was consistently profitable). And they’re showing the 2 fingers at Ryanair: this will be operational a full 3 months before Laudamotion is able to launch. Wondering how many ex-Niki staff they have managed to poach. It was widely reported in the Austrian media that most of them were not overjoyed by the prospect of working for Niki Lauda.

  4. Christian says:

    Would be interested in how this is related to hedging against brexit. Such an important topic that should be quite hard to avoid – and that I read absolutely nothing about on here.

  5. philip says:

    the link does not work. An error message appears when the Level site attempts to transfer to the Vueling site.

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