Photo: Daniel Luis Gómez Adenis

LONDON – IAG’s long-haul transatlantic carrier OpenSkies has completed its integration into the groups’ low-cost carrier, LEVEL.

The completion of the integration project finalized with the airline’s first flight from Paris-Orly (ORY) to Montreal (YUL) with a LEVEL Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

As of July 3, more services from ORY will kick off, featuring a four times per week service to Guadeloupe (PDP) with the same aircraft type.

The two ORY-based A330-200s seat 293 passengers in Economy and 21 in Premium economy. LEVEL expects a third A330-200 to join the base by 2019.

“We’re delighted to start flying from our second European city,” said Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO.

“LEVEL is performing really well and ahead of our expectations in all markets. We will continue to invest in LEVEL and are committed to accelerating its growth,” he revealed.

For the carrier’s Barcelona (BCN) operations, a third A330-200 is set to begin operations in September 2018, with a fourth being added to the network in 2019.

From BCN alone, Level currently operates services to Buenos Aires (EZE), San Francisco (SFO) and Boston (BOS) with a summer service to Los Angeles (LAX).

LEVEL’s European Expansion

The integration of OpenSkies into LEVEL is the continuation of Walsh’s strategy across Europe, where IAG is starting to establish operations at key cities across the continent and subsequently link up other destinations around the world that are popular and can make a lot of revenues to boost the carrier’s low-cost-focused growth.

Last week, the group announced the opening of a base in Vienna through a new LEVEL Austrian AOC.

The carrier will begin operations from there with four Airbus A321s, previously owned by Air Berlin. The planes will have a configuration of 210 seats in an all-Economy Class layout.

According to IAG, flights from Vienna will first begin to Majorca and London-Gatwick, with the list of destinations increasing to Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Ibiza, Malaga, Valencia, Milan-Malpensa, Olbia, Venice, Paris-CDG, Dubrovnik, and Larnaca.

With the summer season just starting, it will be enlightening to see how both Norwegian and LEVEL’s perform.

Most certainly, load factors will be high. However, both carriers will need to keep an eye at other competitors in the market, both full-service and low-cost.