travel

Level: New budget, long-haul airline launching out of Barcelona

To start, the carrier will fly travellers aboard two Airbus A330 aircraft that can accommodate 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. ― AFP picTo start, the carrier will fly travellers aboard two Airbus A330 aircraft that can accommodate 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. ― AFP picBARCELONA, March 17 — A new long-haul, low-budget airline is set to hit the skies this summer that will be based out of Barcelona before expanding to other European cities. 

IAG, the parent company to carriers like British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, has revealed details on their fifth and newest airline called Level, which will begin shuttling passengers between Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana in June, for fares as low as US$149 (RM662) one-way. 

To start, the carrier will fly travellers aboard two Airbus A330 aircraft that can accommodate 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. 

Level is the newest low-budget, long-haul carrier to usher in a new chapter in commercial aviation. 

Norwegian Air, Iceland’s Wow air, Canada’s WestJet and Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc all offer low-budget transatlantic flights for bargain basement prices, to the delight of budget-conscious travelers — and the chagrin of bigger commercial airlines. 

Last month, for instance, Norwegian Air launched promotional transatlantic flights between Europe and the US for as little as US$65 one-way. 

Meanwhile, though Level travellers flying premium economy will get complimentary checked baggage, meals, seat selection and in-flight entertainment, passengers in economy will have to factor in checked baggage fees and paying extra for other onboard options. 

After Barcelona, IAG says they plan to expand flights to other European cities. 

Barcelona is also home to IAG’s low-cost Vueling airline, which will serve to connect passengers arriving from Level flights with Vueling’s network of European destinations. 

“Level is an exciting new IAG airline brand which will bring a stylish and modern approach to flying at prices that are even more affordable. It will benefit from having the strength of one of the world’s largest airline groups behind it,” said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh in a statement. 

“This is just the start. We’re really excited about the opportunities for expansion and we plan to bring Level to other European destinations.” 

Meanwhile, the opening of a new airline hub in Barcelona could be seen as running counter to the city’s efforts to limit tourist numbers. 

In order to curb what has become unmanageable and unsustainable tourist arrivals in the city, officials approved a new law earlier this year that will limit the number of hotel beds available and freeze the building of new hotels in parts of the city.  

Level airfares go on sale today at flylevel.com. — AFP-Relaxnews

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