File Photo of a LEVEL A330-200 (EC-MOY) landing at Barcelona-El Prat International Airport. Image Courtesy of Daniel Luis Gómez Adenis via Flickr.
IAG (International Airline Group), the parent company of European carriers British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling, announced plans to expand LEVEL, its low-cost long-haul airline launched earlier this year, while discontinuing operations for OpenSkies, its premium transatlantic airline, currently operating between New York (JFK and EWR) and Paris-Orly, using Boeing 757-200 aircraft, and a single 767-300ER inherited from parent company British Airways.
As part of its long-haul expansion on transatlantic flights to the Americas, LEVEL is opening a new base at Paris Orly airport. As OpenSkies exclusively uses Orly as its European operational base, it is likely that LEVEL will be taking over the landing/takeoff slots currently used by OpenSkies. From Paris-Orly, LEVEL will operate flights to Montreal, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Newark, starting in summer and fall 2018. As Ben Schlappig from One Mile At A Time reported, LEVEL will be basing two of its A330-200s at Paris-Orly for these flights. It is especially interesting in that, for flights between Paris-Orly and Newark, OpenSkies has decided to replace its premium service, using OpenSkies, with a low-cost budget service operated by LEVEL. Furthermore, IAG also announced that LEVEL will also launch a thrice-weekly flight between Boston and Barcelona, with flights scheduled to commence on March 28, 2018.
Overall, it's extremely likely that IAG has been hit heavily by low-cost airlines operating in the transatlantic market, such as Norwegian, which was what ultimately spurred IAG to create LEVEL. These airlines have created tons of competition for the "full-service" carriers. Thus, it's not too surprising that IAG would like to compete with these budget airlines. Unfortunately for those high-end travelers, the move is coming at the cost of premium flights between New York and Paris.
What are your thoughts on LEVEL's expansion to Paris, and OpenSkies' fate?