Vienna Airport: IAG backs LEVEL vs Vueling

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IAG is to launch a new short/medium haul LCC based in Vienna under an Austrian AOC and using the LEVEL brand. Deploying four Airbus A321s with 210 seats in all-economy configuration, it will serve 14 European destinations from the Austrian capital.

LEVEL was established by IAG in 2017 as a long haul low cost brand. The choice of LEVEL over Vueling on short/medium haul low cost flights is something of a surprise.

Austrian Airlines is comfortably the biggest airline in Vienna, with 50.5% of seats in the week of 2-Jul-2018. Lufthansa Group dominates, with a total seat share of 65.1%, including 9.5% for Eurowings – Vienna's leading LCC. Currently, the competing LCCs easyJet, Laudamotion (part owned by Ryanair) and Wizz Air are all bigger than Vueling at Vienna (where Vueling is IAG's biggest airline).

After the demise of NIKI and airberlin (Vienna's number two and number three airlines in 2016), strong growth by LCCs and Lufthansa Group have left IAG somewhat marginalised at Vienna, with just 4.3% of seats. The new LEVEL routes will expand this to 6.5%, but risk diluting IAG's short/medium haul LCC brand strength, which has been developed through Vueling. Vienna Airport will not mind that.

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