IAG launches new low-priced, long-haul airline

LEVEL A330

LEVEL will become IAG's fifth main airline brand, following Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling.

International Airlines Group (IAG) is preparing to launch a new low cost longhaul airline brand called Level, as competition for cheap flights to far flung destinations heats up.

Level flights will begin on two Airbus (EADSY) A330 jets, and IAG said the new carrier "will look to expand its flights from other European cities".

IAG officials announced the Level airline will operate two new Airbus A330 aircraft with brand-specific livery, and the planes will be operated by IAG-owned Iberia airline, which will help create 250 jobs based in Barcelona.

The airline will offers services to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Twice-weekly flights to Punta Cana will commence on June 10, and a three times-weekly service to Buenos Aires will launch on June 17.

Fares will start from €99 for a one-way ticket, with checked luggage, meals and in-flight Internet access among the perks in premium economy.

Last month, for instance, Norwegian Air launched promotional transatlantic flights between Europe and the United States for as little as US$65 one-way.

The company's chief executive Willie Wash said that Barcelona had been chosen because it was Vueling's home airport and would allow customers to connect to Level flights from Vueling's short-haul network. Those travelling in economy can chose what they want to buy based on a menu of choices. This will allow customers to book cheap flights from different United Kingdom airports to places such as New Jersey, Boston and NY with Norwegian.

British Airways and Iberia parent International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) is launching a new long-haul budget airline based in Barcelona, the company has said.

"This is just the start".

While the airline will only operate from one European destination initially, there are plans to extend to several other airports.

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