IAG takes it to the next Level

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BRITISH AIRWAYS owner IAG is to expand its low-cost long-haul airline Level with the launch of short-haul flights from a base in Austria.

The Madrid-based firm, which also owns Spanish flag-bearing carrier Iberia, launched the new brand last year as a direct rival to Norwegian.

It currently flies from Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco to Barcelona, and New York to Paris and Madrid.

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But it will from July 17 begin flights from Vienna to 14 destinations including London Gatwick, Barcelona, Madrid, and Mallorca using four Airbus A321 planes in a bid to take on established budget carriers.

Simon Calder, travel editor of the Independent said the bold move by IAG would spark a “massive fares war.”

He added: “British Airways’ parent company has astonished the aviation market by launching a new Vienna-based subsidiary with less than three weeks’ notice.”

IAG’s chief executive Willie Walsh said there will be “more flight choices across Europe”.

He added: “These flights will be branded as Level to build upon the huge success of our new long-haul low-cost operation.

Flights from London to the Austrian capital with Level currently start at €24, although as with rivals passengers must pay extra fees to choose a seat or to check in a hold bag.

IAG recently tried to buy its low-cost long-haul rival Norwegian Air Shuttle and Vienna-based Niki, losing out to Irish airline Ryanair in the latter battle.

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