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IAG’s LEVEL Europe Files for Insolvency Whilst Aer Lingus Proposes Wage Cuts
Austrian registered short-haul airline LEVEL Europe has ceased trading with immediate effect citing the Covid-19 crisis for its application for insolvency. The carrier commenced operation in 2017 as ANISEC Luftfahrt, a subsidiary of Spain’s Vueling, operating six aircraft from the Airbus A320 family. The airline operated from Vienna to destinations including Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam. Aircraft were also based in Amsterdam serving London, Lisbon, Barcelona, Milan and Rome.
As part of IAG (International Airlines Group), the airline adopted the LEVEL brand of its low-cost long-haul stablemate in late 2019 but only operated with that moniker for a few months before the fleet was grounded in March due to the Coronavirus outbreak. A statement issued by LEVEL Europe stated that: “Once insolvency proceedings are filed, an Austrian Court will appoint an Administrator.” Business operations of the low-cost long-haul LEVEL airline are not affected as it is a separate entity within the IAG consortium.
LEVEL Europe’s website advises that only passengers departing within 48 hours to contact call centers and states that the page will no longer be monitored. Employees of the airline face a more stark notice with the site stating, “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.”
To counter the significant drop in worldwide aviation passenger demand IAG has been undertaking reviews of their airlines operating costs and fleet utilization. Controversy has surrounded British Airways’ handling of proposed staff cuts with the U.K parliament’s Transport Select committee labeling it a “national disgrace”. A further concern has been expressed in the Republic of Ireland with Aer Lingus proposing salary and wage cuts of up to 70% to staff including cabin crew after a deal with unions for less significant cuts was not reached.
LEVEL Europe is the latest in a long list of European airlines that have failed in the last three years. U.K. carriers Flybe, Thomas Cook and Monarch have all ceased operation and mainland Europe airlines Air Berlin, Primera Air, Germania, Adria Airways are no more. Further consolidation and concentration of the European industry is expected as the Covid-19 crisis continues. Though airlines are beginning to ramp up operations around the continent as countries ease travel restrictions, passenger demand and confidence remains uncertain.
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