IAG subsidiary LEVEL goes short-haul, with new base in Vienna

IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, launched its answer to Norwegian last year as the new low-cost brand ‘LEVEL’ was established. The announcement came amid a multitude of spin-offs announced by full service airlines, designed to appeal to millennials, like JOON from Air France, for example.

The airline initially had a primary goal: to operate low-cost, long haul services, across the Atlantic. Pitched at younger travellers, the airline based itself in Barcelona, offering services with Airbus A330-200 aircraft to Los Angeles, Oakland, Buenos Aires, Boston and Punta Cana.

LEVEL launched its transatlantic services from Barcelona last year, with a fleet of Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Since then, the airline has evolved. This year, LEVEL has opened a base in Paris Orly, offering services to the Caribbean Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe – in addition to services to Montréal and New York Newark.

Now, comes the biggest development yet. In less than a month, LEVEL will launch intra-Europe operations from Austria’s capital – Vienna. The carrier will be based at Vienna’s Terminal 1, with four Airbus A321 aircraft initially operating to 14 European destinations.

LEVEL’s new Airbus A321s are believed to be acquired from Air Berlin

Specifically, the airline will offer flights from Vienna to:

  • Palma (PMI), daily from July 17th
  • London Gatwick (LGW), double-daily from July 17th
  • Barcelona (BCN), daily from July 23rd
  • Malaga (AGP), three-weekly from July 30th
  • Venice (VCE), daily from July 31st
  • Olbia (OLB), three-weekly from July 31st
  • Ibiza (IBZ), three-weekly from August 7th
  • Paris (CDG), thirteen-weekly from August 11th
  • Milan (MXP), thirteen-weekly from August 11th
  • Dubrovnik (DBV), four-weekly from August 11th
  • Larnaca (LCA), three-weekly from August 11th
  • Alicante (ALC), two-weekly from August 11th
  • Valencia (VLC), two-weekly from August 12th
  • Bilbao (BIO), three-weekly from August 13th

The flights will operate with a 210-seater Airbus A321 equipment (seized from now-defunct Air Berlin), in an all-Economy configuration. Flights can currently be booked via the Vueling website, with starting fares from just €24.99 one-way. Customers will be entitled to one piece of hand luggage free of charge, with checked luggage, and on-board drinks and snacks on a buy-on-board basis.

LEVEL’s new flights will operate with Vueling’s ‘VY’ flight code.

The proposition for passengers is much the same as that offered by the larger and more established IAG airline Vueling. However, LEVEL will not offer the ‘Excellence’ fare class offered when booking Vueling flights, which offers passengers an experience closer to what you’d find on a full-service airline.

Bottom Line:

LEVEL has certainly gotten off to a flying start, expanding its transatlantic programme rapidly when compared to last summer. This is the latest example of that expansion, which is sure to bring low fares to the Austrian capital (especially when coupled with the recent launch of Laudamotion) and it also continues the trend of low-cost airlines expanding in the traditional territory of conventional full-service carriers.