Airlines

British Airways launching Level airline to compete in low-cost market

 (IAG)

The company that owns British Airways thinks they’ll fare pretty well in the low-cost carrier market.

The International Airlines Group, which operates the U.K.'s largest airline, has announced the launch of Level, a new “low cost longhaul airline brand” to initially operate out of Barcelona, Spain.

“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 IAG CEO Willie Walsh in a press release. “It will benefit from having the strength of one of the world’s largest airline groups behind it.”

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IAG’s newest airline brand will officially launch in June, with flights departing from Barcelona to destinations around the world including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 

One-way flights range in price from 99 to 149 euros (about $105 - $160), with tickets currently on sale at FlyLevel.com.

Included in the price of a premium economy ticket is a checked bag, meals, seat selection, and “the latest” movie releases. Regular economy passengers will be able to purchase their preferred amenities from a menu, the press release states.

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The airline will be operating two Airbus A330 planes, to be staffed by the IAG-owned Iberia airline, which also offers low-cost flight options under Iberia Express. (IAG also owns Aer Lingus, based in Ireland, and Vueling, out of Spain.)

Walsh also suggested that, in addition to Barcelona, Level will soon be looking to offer flights to and from other destinations in Europe.

“This is just the start,” said Walsh. “We’re really excited about the opportunities for expansion and we plan to bring Level to other European destinations."

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IAG’s move to launch Level comes as competing carriers in Europe have begun offering more low-cost flight options, like Eurowings’s flights to the Caribbean and Asia, or Norwegian Airlines’ plan to offer more low-cost flights to the U.S., reports the BBC.

It also marks a trend toward the expansion of low-cost carriers in general. Volaris, a low-cost airline based in Mexico, has recently started offering flights to New York, Milwaukee and Houston. Spirit Airlines also added seven new routes in February, and Frontier Airlines plans to expand to 12 new markets in the spring and summer.

Level will being flying from Barcelona to L.A. beginning on June 1, with destinations in San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana to begin departing in the following weeks.