There has been some talk about LEVEL just being a loss-making tool to kill off Norwegian and other LCCs, after which it can be expected to shut down. IMHO, the fleet choice will reflect this - either the planes will be cheap and easily disposed of (leased planes), of be of a type that fits into the future IAG fleet. In case of the former, the A330NEO could be the favorite, while the latter currently favours the 787. It is worth mentioning that only BA uses the 787 in the IAG group, and future Aer Lingus and Iberia orders could upend that equation completely.
That's pretty feasible.
LEVEL is a tool for IAG to move quickly and effectively in the current European market.
Although was created to tackle the disembark of Norwegian in BCN, it already flies from ORY and VIE filling the "gaps" of IAG's airlines network. I think it might all be folded back to the airlines of the group in the mid term, so that's something that the aircraft order will have to take into consideration. Different scenarios are likely:
-If Norwegian was finally acquired or eventually remodels somehow to become a more efficient airline (hard to believe they just go burst!), in both scenarios I see the 787 fleet going to feed the growths of BA. Like others said, the B787 only suits the current fleet of that airline within IAG. EI could may be second option? Why acquire brand-new 787s when it's highly likely they could get them either through taking over DY/DY dropping the long-haul most of the plan?
-If LEVEL truly expands independently and becomes a "needed player" for the mid term of IAG, then I see more possibilities for them with the A330s family. IB plans to receive 16 A350s, but those are just to replace the old A346s which are all going through 2022. The A330s -800 would allow that intermobility within the group should anything change rapidly for LEVEL. LEVEL is currently looking at quite ultra-long routes (BCN-SCL will only be the second longest route for the current A330-200 fleet, 2nm less than EZE-FCO flown by the Aerolineas's A330-200), which makes one think how painful for a low cost player is to operate with payloads. By acquiring A330s I believe they could make a big order not only restricted to be for the needs of LEVEL.
Today, most of the operation of long-haul LEVEL is in Spain, Barcelona (4th plane arriving this summer). That is pending from an agreement with the unions and staff at IB. They don't want to stop operating the LEVEL routes, and I am not sure what could happen in case an independent AOC was created (probably IB should get back their A330s which are painted LEVEL?). The staff who flies that operation is temporary and joined Iberia recently which makes me think they are not exactly "expensive". Pilots aren't, but just captains are the expensive part of the operation. Compared to the cost of all the rest, this is a bit like JOON, being realistic, you won't save much with new flight attendants, which is anyway the majority of the BCN-LEVEL operation.
3rd plane arriving at ORY this summer too. Martinica will be dropped, some news should come soon.
They don't say much about future airports to see this "aggressive expansion". What are your thoughts? VIE with long-haul? As far as I know, BCN is a type of market which is probing to be more successful than ORY. Despite competence from DY in Barcelona (less, just OAK/SFO now, NYC from S19), the marketing is easier for a city-airport which sees a lot of low-cost traffic of the BCN size. VIE could work quite well for LEVEL I believe.
In conclusion, IAG is now boosting LEVEL under the control of other airlines, as a brand. It might reach the point where they realize that the airline has its own identity and customer base, so that they fully create and independent project. So far, we have just one brand articulated through different enterprises and staff-companies.
Last edited by a350lover
on Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:26 am, edited 2 times in total.