Category Archives: IAG

IAG to launch LEVEL, a new low-cost, long-haul carrier

International Airlines Group (IAG) is launching LEVEL – a new low cost longhaul airline brand that will take to the skies in June 2017 with flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Buenos Aires and Punta Cana.

LEVEL will fly two new Airbus A330 aircraft branded in its own livery and fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. Initially it will be operated by Iberia’s flight and cabin crew and will create up to 250 jobs based in Barcelona.

Barcelona has been chosen as the first European city for the launch of IAG’s new operation but LEVEL will look to expand its flights from other European cities.

Fares start from €99/US$149 one way.

Checked luggage (in addition to a free cabin bag), meals, seat selection and the latest movie releases will be complimentary for customers flying in premium economy. Those travelling in economy can chose what they want to buy based on a menu of choices. All customers will have access to next generation inflight technology with a wide range of onboard entertainment options. High speed internet connectivity will be available with prices starting at €8.99.

LEVEL’s customers will be able to earn and redeem Avios – the loyalty currency for IAG’s airlines. This will give them the opportunity to fly to 380 destinations across the Group’s network.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “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.

“LEVEL will become IAG’s fifth main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. It will complement our existing airline portfolio and further diversify our current customer base.

Image: IAG.

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IAG orders 31 Airbus wide body and narrow body airliners

International Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London) has signed a firm order for 31 Airbus aircraft, which includes 11 wide-body aircraft (eight A350-900s, three A330-200s) and 20 A320neos.

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The A350s and A330s are slated for Iberia’s fleet modernization and to open new long-haul routes, and the A320neos will be allocated to the group’s airlines for fleet replacement.

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With this latest order for 31 aircraft IAG and its airlines have ordered a total of nearly 450 aircraft from Airbus. IAG’s airlines British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, between them operate nearly every aircraft in Airbus’ product range from the smallest single aisle A318 to the world’s largest wide-body A380.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. The new Airbus A330-200s for Iberia will replace the aging Airbus A340-300s and compliment the pictured Airbus A330-300s. Iberia is due to take delivery of its first Airbus A330-200 in December 2015. Iberia’s Airbus A330-302 EC-MAA (msn 1515) approaches the runway at Miami International Airport.

Iberia aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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European Commission approves with concerns IAG’s proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus

The European Commission (Brussels) has issued this statement concerning the proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus (Dublin) by the International Airlines Group (IAG) (London):

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The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Irish airline Aer Lingus by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).

IAG is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. The clearance is conditional upon commitments offered by the parties to address the Commission’s concerns regarding the transaction as notified.

The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes.

The Commission also found that the merged entity would have prevented Aer Lingus from continuing to provide traffic to the long-haul flights of competing airlines on several routes.

European Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “By obtaining significant concessions from the airlines the Commission has ensured that air passengers will continue to have a choice of airlines at competitive prices after IAG’s takeover of Aer Lingus.

The five million passengers travelling each year from Dublin and Belfast to London will be able to choose among several strong carriers.

And we are also protecting passengers travelling on connecting flights between Ireland and the rest of the world.”

The clearance decision is conditional upon the following commitments, which address the Commission’s concerns:

The release of five daily slot pairs at London-Gatwick airport to facilitate the entry of competing airlines on routes from London to both Dublin and Belfast ; and Aer Lingus continuing to carry connecting passengers to use the long-haul flights of competing airlines out of London- Heathrow, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin .

The Commission’s investigation

The Commission’s investigation found that the transaction, as initially notified, would have led to high market shares on the Dublin-London, Belfast-London and Dublin-Chicago routes. The merged entity would have faced insufficient competitive constraints from the remaining players which could ultimately lead to higher prices.

The Commission also analysed whether there was a risk that IAG would prevent passengers flying on Aer Lingus’ short-haul flights, from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Belfast, from

connecting with long-haul flights operated by competing airlines out of other European airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Dublin and Amsterdam.

IAG submitted commitments to release five daily slot pairs at London Gatwick which can be used on the specific routes of concern, namely Dublin-London and Belfast-London.

The availability of these slots, and other incentives such as the acquisition of grandfathering rights after a certain period of time, facilitate the entry of competing airlines.

Furthermore, IAG made a commitment to enter into agreements with competing airlines which operate long-haul flights out of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin so that Aer Lingus will continue to provide these airlines with connecting passengers.

Passengers will therefore continue to have a choice to use other airlines than IAG when connecting at these airports, for instance on Heathrow-New York, Gatwick-Las Vegas, Manchester-Orlando, Amsterdam-Singapore, Shannon-Chicago, and Dublin-Chicago.

These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the Commission.

The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it. The transaction was notified to the Commission on 27 May, 2015.

Companies and products International Consolidated Airlines Group (“IAG” ) of the United Kingdom, is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia Líneas Aéreas de España S.A. and Vueling Airlines S.A.

Aer Lingus of Ireland is currently mainly owned by the Republic of Ireland and Ryanair, a competing carrier. Other significant shareholders include Etihad Airways.

Both IAG and Aer Lingus provide air transport for passengers, air transport for cargo, airport ground handling services and landside cargo handling services.

Merger control rules and procedures

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review.

From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).

The commitments offered by the Parties will be made available as of 16 July under the case number

The International Airlines Group (IAG) issued this statement:

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International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) welcomes the decision by the European Commission to approve its Offer for Aer Lingus.

IAG has offered the following remedies to the EC as part of the regulatory process:

  • Five daily slot pairs will be made available to other airlines at London Gatwick for flights between the airport and Dublin or Belfast.
  • Specifically, two of the five daily frequencies must be operated between Gatwick and Dublin.
  • One daily frequency must be operated between Gatwick and Belfast.
  • The other two frequencies can be operated between Gatwick and either Dublin or Belfast.
  • Other airlines can apply for seats on Aer Lingus’ shorthaul network for their transfer passengers, on normal commercial terms.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. London’s Gatwick Airport was the main competitive concern for the EC. Aer Lingus’s Airbus A320-214 EI-DEE (msn 2250) arrives at LGW.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Air France-KLM, easyJet, IAG, Lufthansa Group and Ryanair call for a new EU Aviation Strategy

European Union flag

The CEOs of Europe’s five largest airline groups – Air France-KLM, easyJet, International Airlines Group (IAG), Lufthansa Group and Ryanair – met collectively for the first time today (June 17) and agreed to work together to lobby for the development of a new EU Aviation Strategy that will support growth and jobs across Europe, strengthen the sector and give Europe’s passengers lower fares and more choice.

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The meeting took place (in Brussels) in response to the new EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc’s consultation on a new EU Aviation Strategy. The five agreed a vision for this strategy that would match the revolution in aviation that the liberalization of Europe’s airline sector created a generation ago, through the creation of the internal aviation market.

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The five airlines identified four measures that would support the Commission‘s objectives of enhancing the competitiveness of the European air transport industry both at European and international level, supporting growth and jobs across Europe and which would help consumers through the provision of more flights and lower fares.
These measures are:

The development of an EU Aviation strategy with a plan for a simple efficient regulatory structure, which would strengthen the competitiveness of European airlines, ensure jobs and growth through innovation (e.g. Horizon 2020), protect consumer interests and promote more efficiency to reduce costs.

Lowering the cost of the EU’s airports by ensuring that monopoly airports are effectively regulated; ensuring that passengers receive the full benefit of the commercial revenues which they create at airports; and that security charges are efficient. This could be achieved by reforming the Airport Charges Directive.

Delivering reliable and efficient airspace by reducing the cost of ATC provision; ensuring that ATC strikes do not cause disruption to passengers across Europe; resetting the Single European Sky strategy by focusing on using new technology to make efficiency savings; and using SESAR funding to drive compliance with the Single Sky framework.
Stimulating more economic activity and jobs by creating the right regulatory environment, removing passenger taxes and unreasonable environmental taxes.

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The five CEOs – Alexandre de Juniac, Carolyn McCall, Willie Walsh, Carsten Spohr and Michael O’Leary – outlined their vision:

“Europe’s airlines form the most competitive sector in aviation with a diverse mix of carriers offering competition and choice to consumers.This is the first time we have set aside our competitive battles to highlight the importance of a new European Aviation Strategy.

The liberalization of aviation in Europe in the 1990’s, creating a fully liberalized single market with a comprehensive common regulatory framework 18 years ago, strongly enhanced competition across Europe.As a result, consumers have benefited with substantially lower fares and more routes across Europe and to the rest of the world. At the same time, EU airlines have maintained leading safety standards. The range and quality of services have increased and airline costs have fallen by 1 – 2% per year for the last two decades.

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We believe that this decline should now be matched by a reduction in those costs which airlines do not control themselves. “As the new Transport Commissioner prepares a new Aviation Strategy for Europe she must drive more competition, encourage more efficiency and help reduce costs in other parts of our industry (such as monopoly airports and Air Traffic Control providers) and reduce the tax burden on passengers.”

Aviation is a proven driver of economic growth and jobs. The proposed measures will create many hundreds of thousands of jobs – particularly for young people, at a time of high youth unemployment in countries such as Italy or Spain – and increase Europe’s GDP. The group will write to the EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc asking for these measures to be put in place.

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Alongside the proposed policy positions the five CEO’s confirmed their support for several key principles and action items which should underpin EU aviation policy. The most important of these is the commitment to safety and ensuring that safety standards are developed based on a risk based scientific assessment.

The CEOs confirmed their support for the liberalization of the whole aviation value chain and for pro-competition policy and regulation within the EU. They also confirmed their opposition to the provision of State-aid, as a general principle, to airlines and airports. They agreed that EU and national regulation and policies should support the efficient delivery of services, and that this includes the need for efficient operations to minimise the environmental impact of aviation. The importance of balanced consumer rights was also underlined; EU and national policies need to ensure that consumer rights are respected.

The CEOs agreed to work together to encourage the Commission and EU member states to take up the proposed measures. The five airlines agreed that airline representation in Brussels today is not as effective as it could be – with six airline representative organisations – and agreed to explore possible forms of future representation.

The five airlines between them carried a total of 420 million passengers in 2014, accounting for half of the passenger journeys in Europe.

IAG moves one step closer to acquiring a 25% share of Aer Lingus

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British Airways (London) and Iberia (Madrid) parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) (London) has confirmed that it has reached agreement with Aer Lingus (Dublin) to make a €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) (£1 billion) cash offer for Ireland’s national carrier.

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The deal, which comes after months of negotiations, values Aer Lingus at €2.55 a share ($2.80 a share).

The board of the Irish carrier is recommending the offer, which was made after confirmation from the Irish government that it is willing to sell its 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus.

The decision of the sale was made at a meeting of the Irish cabinet late on Tuesday, which itself followed indications earlier in the day from Brussels that European competition authorities would not stand in IAG’s path.

Yesterday (May 28) IAG updated the Aer Lingus offer with this formal statement: CLICK HERE

Read more from The Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock reporting from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus Airbus A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) in the special Green Spirit – Official Airline of the Irish Rugby Team livery taxies at the home of IAG and British Airways – London (Heathrow).

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Is IAG’s seduction of Aer Lingus working?

International Airlines Group’s (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London) continued seduction of Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (Dublin) seems to be finally working, as the airline is revealing the positives of a takeover by the owner of British and Spanish flag carriers British Airways (London-Heathrow) and Iberia (Madrid).

In a statement to The Guardian, Christoph Mueller, the clover-tailed carrier’s outgoing CEO says that Ireland’s entire economy will benefit if the International Airlines Group takes over Aer Lingus.

Mueller, who steps down as CEO of the airline this week, said IAG’s £1.02 billion (€1.4 billion) ($1.57 billion) offer to buy Aer Lingus would be the biggest single foreign investment in the Republic since the financial crash.

He continued that there was “a great deal of excitement” that Aer Lingus would be able to create jobs on a much larger scale if IAG took charge of the former state-run airline.

Mueller also stressed that talks between IAG and the Aer Lingus trade unions had been “very constructive”.

Aer Lingus announced on Tuesday that its profits had risen by almost 18% to €72 million ($81.6 million) from the previous year. Total revenue was up by 9.2%. For the first time in the airline’s history the number of passengers has exceeded 11 million.

On the hike in profits and the IAG take-over proposal, Mueller added: We profitably expanded our long-haul network utilizing our cost advantage and favorable geographic position and helped establish Dublin as the 7th largest European hub for transatlantic connections.

“Our short-haul business continued to demonstrate its resilience despite a highly competitive market. Commercial initiatives, in addition to cost control, led to the highest operating profit since the financial crisis and 17.8% above last year.”

Read more from The Guardian: CLICK HERE

Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock reporting from Manchester.

Update: The Irish government late on February 24 stated it cannot accept the current offer from IAG for Aer Lingus. The government according to the BBC has raised concerns and wants more information before selling its share. Red the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. A takeover by IAG would lead to an updated fleet. Aircraft like this wet leased Air Contractors Boeing 757-2Q8 EI-LBR (msn 28167) would be phased out.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Qatar Airways acquires a stake in IAG

Qatar Airways (Doha) has bought a 9.99 per cent stake in British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group (IAG), becoming the company’s largest shareholder.

The move will cement a close commercial relationship between BA and the airline, whose owner, the Qatari government, is a significant investor in Britain.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, the BA owner, said in : “We’re delighted to have Qatar Airways, one of the world’s premier airlines, as a long-term supportive shareholder. We will talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG’s ambitions as the leading global airline group.”

BA sponsored Qatar’s entry into the Oneworld airline alliance, and they also have a cargo partnership. Qatar has indicated it would seek to extend ties following the investment, which could include codeshares on flights via the Gulf state, allowing the airlines to sell tickets on each other’s planes.

Akbar Al Baker, the Qatar airline’s CEO said: “IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our westwards strategy.”

Qatar Airways is prohibited from owning more than a minority stake in IAG under EU ownership rules and said it does not currently intend to increase its 9.99% shareholding.

Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Qatar Airways’ second Airbus A380, the pictured A380-861 A7-APB (msn 143) completes its final approach to London’s Heathrow Airport, the home of IAG’s British Airways.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show:

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