Comment: Turbulence ahead as Level takes off
Europe's already cut-throat airline market just got tougher.
With oil prices rising (Bank of America Merrill Lynch yesterday predicted they could hit $90 a barrel by next summer), Michael O'Leary's prediction that more airlines are headed for collapse looks more than ever like it could have a ring of truth.
Last year, the collapse of Air Berlin and Monarch laid bare the bruising battle to win passengers across Europe's short-haul route network.
And the entry of Level into the short-haul market will further intensify competition.
It also raises a question as to how long IAG might be willing to wait to buy Scandinavian carrier Norwegian. IAG snapped up a small stake in Norwegian earlier this year and said it's interested in buying the airline outright. But IAG CEO Willie Walsh - as he did when IAG was trying to buy Aer Lingus - has insisted that buying Norwegian would be attractive to IAG, but is not a deal he has to do.
With Level, he may end up having all the firepower he needs.