IAG picks Paris as second base for LEVEL

British Airways owner IAG has announced that LEVEL, the low-cost long-haul airline brand will start operating from a second European airport, Paris Orly, next year.

Chief executive Willie Walsh unveiled the plan today at a press conference in the French capital, which won out over Rome for the designation. 

LEVEL plans to offer flights between Paris and New York from 129 euros ($154) for a one-way ticket and to Montreal, Guadeloupe and Martinique for 99 euros, he said. “We believe long-haul, low-cost routes can be profitable,” Mr Walsh continued.

LEVEL will progressively replace the ‘Open Skies’ brand and operate out of Paris’s Orly Airport.

British Airways’ owner IAG is to start a transatlantic price war in Paris by launching LEVEL, its fledgling long-haul carrier, at the French capital’s second airport.

The new service promises to fly to North America and the Caribbean with fares from €99 one-way next summer.  Local press notes that LEVEL is a low-cost airline that was launched in Barcelona earlier this year to offer customers competitive prices. It was seen as a response to the introduction by Norwegian Air, using state-of-the-art Boeing 787 aircraft, to fly great value services from Europe to the United States. 

LEVEL said yesterday that it would fly two Airbus A330 jets from Paris Orly on services to New York, Montreal in Canada and to Guadeloupe and Martinique in the French Caribbean. It will replace IAG’s French operation, Open Skies.

IAG’s plan is to use Vueling to connect with LEVEL flights. “Barcelona was always a first step and we’re delighted to launch four exciting new routes from Paris,” Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, said. City AM adds that Mr Walsh had previously said the firm was set to choose between Rome and Paris as the next option for its second base, with the plan to focus on “underserved markets”. Mr Walsh further that the UK is also among the locations he’s eyeing, and that it could be a market that IAG looks at for LEVEL in the future: “LEVEL’s Barcelona operation has been an incredible success. 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.”

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