Making the playing field Level?

By | Category: Travel news
Level plane

the colours of the new IAG brand – Level.

Last week IAG launched a new low cost airline based in the Austrian capital city of Vienna.

Why is this of interest to us?

Because, firstly,  IAG is the holding company for BA, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling and secondly because this new company – called Level – will link Gatwick and Vienna from July 17th.

Readers might remember that IAG set up a company called Level a little while ago based in Barcelona. Thirteen months ago to the very day, the first flight took off. Today a Paris base opens and the Vienna one has followed.

When setting Level up, Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG said that the airline would be based overseas and would challenge low-cost airlines for business. Few companies have the muscle to take on the likes of easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz and Norwegian but IAG is one of them. Many of us still don’t understand why BA sold its low cost airline, Go, to easyJet thirteen years ago only to now have to re-invent the wheel.

But without a flight into the UK or Ireland, the impact of Level on us was limited. The hope was that it would expand to the UK but Walsh wasn’t encouraging at the time of the launch. Now with the Gatwick-Vienna service, there is a chance that other airports in the UK and Ireland will be opened up and that a new low cost short and long-haul competitor will be available to us.

The significance is that Level flies across the Atlantic with fares cheaper than BA, Iberia or Aer Lingus. But not from the UK or Ireland suggesting that Walsh is unwilling to put the airline against BA or Aer Lingus and damage those brands by switching passengers to Level. He has Norwegian in his sights, a low cost airline that has taken passengers away from his airlines and which may have prompted IAG to make a bid for the airline a month or so ago. IAG also tried to buy Lauda (now reinvented as Laudamotion) which was based in Vienna. Having achieved neither, Level is expanding

In the meantime we can get an idea of how much Level will pose as a threat to easyJet and BA but not to Ryanair as it doesn’t operate as service into Vienna. BA only have a seasonal service from Gatwick to Vienna so if level scoops up the passengers it won’t harm IAG very much.

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