Austrian short-haul airline LEVEL Europe has today announced plans to file for insolvency. Despite being part of the mighty IAG family, the airline is seemingly unable to keep its head above water and is winding up operations as of today.
LEVEL Europe to cease trading immediately
LEVEL Europe is a short-haul airline based in Vienna, which legally is a subsidiary of Vueling. It began life as ANISEC in 2018, operating a fleet of just six Airbus A320 family jets. It should be noted that this arm of the business is separate from LEVEL, the IAG operated long-haul airline.
The move to cease trading comes as the airline has been grounded for months after borders were closed. An administrator will be appointed to manage insolvencies going forward. Customers have been asked not to contact the airline by phone for the next two days, as call centers are already overloaded.
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LEVEL Europe operated six A320s on short-haul routes. Photo: LEVEL EuropeThe lack of support from parent company IAG is somewhat telling. Austria recently issued guidelines that threatened the future of low-cost carriers in the country, which may have added to the decision to let the small carrier fail.
IAG told Reuters that, at present, operations of its long-haul brand LEVEL remain unaffected.
Statement from the airline
The airline has posted the following information on its website:
LEVEL Europe will enter insolvency on June 18, 2020.
All flights have been grounded as of March 2020 and the Austrian business has ceased trading with immediate effect.
Please note that LEVEL Europe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers. At this time we kindly request you do not contact our Call Centres unless your travel is within the next 48 hours, as we are experiencing high levels of call volume at this time.
If you have a booking sold by a marketing carrier or travel agent for LEVEL Europe flight, please contact that marketing carrier or travel agent to confirm if there is any impact to your travel plans.
An administrator will be appointed to answer further questions.
In the event that you were an employee of the Company and you require any further information or assistance in relation to the Administration, an administrator will be appointed. Contact information for the administrator will be posted on this page on or before Wednesday June 24, 2020.
CREDITORS AND SUPPLIERS
In the event that you were a supplier or creditor of the Company and you require further details in relation to the Administration, an administrator will be appointed. Contact information for the administrator will be posted on this page on or before Wednesday June 24, 2020.
Problems for Vienna
LEVEL Europe had been operating from Vienna and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport since 2018, although it previously flew as ANISEC Luftfahrt since November 2017. It planned to operate as Vueling Austria if IAG had secured the defunct airline Niki. However, Niki Lauda bought the airline, which has since been rebranded as Lauda.
IAG decided to kick-off operations under the LEVEL brand, using four A321s previously used by Air Berlin. Three A320s were later transferred from Vueling to operate from Amsterdam, although to date only two had arrived. It was only in December last year that the airline was officially renamed from ANISEC to LEVEL Europe.
The loss of LEVEL Europe will come as a blow to Vienna Airport, which is still likely reeling from the loss of its home-grown airline Lauda. In May, Ryanair announced plans to cut 300 jobs and scrap Lauda’s base in Vienna following a dispute with unions in the city.
It was once thought that Vienna would become something of a low-cost battleground, with Wizz, Lauda, Eurowings, easyJet and LEVEL Europe all vying for space at the hub airport. But with Austria introducing minimum ticket pricing from all its airports, the potential for low-cost flights has become slim. We could yet see more low-cost airline exiting the airport before the crisis is over.