International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Vueling, are expanding their low-cost long-haul airline Level with a new base at Paris Orly. The airline started flying from Barcelona in June as IAG’s competitor to airlines such as Wow Air and Norwegian Air. IAG chief executive Willie Walsh has described Level’s first few months as “an incredible success”. He continued on to say that: “Customers love it and Level will be profitable this year. Barcelona was always a first step and today we’re delighted to launch flights from our second European city with four exciting new routes from Paris.”
The company have said that two planes will be based at Orly in 2018. The aircraft will be A330-200s, each equipped with 293 economy seats and 21 premium economy seats and will fly to Montreal, New York, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.
IAG hopes to be operating 30 planes on the airline by 2020 and are already looking at establishing bases at other airports. Walsh said last month that the take-off and landing slots of the now defunct Monarch Airlines would help boost Level. However, as the slots were secured earlier this week, an IAG spokesperson said: “These slots will be used by the group’s airlines, primarily British Airways, enabling them to grow their presence at the airport and launch new destinations and add extra frequencies”. This move will increase British Airways’ presence at the airport by 28% and IAG now have more than a fifth of the slots at Gatwick.
In the bid to secure these slots, IAG faced competition from easyJet and Level rivals Norwegian Air and Wizz Air. The latter has since secured the last of Monarch’s landing slots at Luton Airport. Together, the slots at Gatwick and Luton are reportedly worth around £60m, though IAG did not say how much it paid.