IAG reshuffles management of Spanish airlines, confirms Level will get A321XLRs  


International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced that it has made changes at its Spain-based subsidiaries while posting its financial results for 2023. 

Marco Sansavini, who was previously Vueling’s CEO, has been appointed CEO and Chairman of Spanish flag carrier Iberia. His role will be passed to Carolina Martinoli, who, until now, was IAG’s Chief People, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer. 

Iberia’s interim CEO Fernando Candela will step down from the role but will continue as CEO of Level, the group’s long-haul low-cost subsidiary. Candela had assumed the role of interim CEO in July 2023 following the departure of the airline’s previous CEO, Javier Sánchez-Prieto.  

IAG also announced that in 2024 Level will strengthen its fleet with the arrival of three Airbus A321XLR narrowbody aircraft.  

Although IAG has not detailed which routes the Barcelona-based carrier plans to deploy the new aircraft on, it is likely they will complement the existing A330 fleet on transatlantic services. According to IAG’s statement, the A321XLRs will allow Level “to create a competitive advantage over its European peers by using its geographic advantage”. 

The use of long-range narrowbody aircraft, such as the already in service A321LR, has offered airlines such as TAP Air Portugal or Aer Lingus additional options to serve destinations in North America by leveraging the location of their hubs relatively close to the continent’s eastern seaboard. 

In the same statement, IAG also highlighted that Iberia could follow a similar strategy to develop secondary markets using the A321XLR, the moment it receives the aircraft.  

The narrowbody aircraft could also lead to Level expanding in Europe, something that IAG previously tried between 2018 and 2020 after it acquired the assets of Austrian airline Niki and set up bases in Vienna (VIE) and Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS). The project was discontinued, with the aircraft and staff being absorbed by Vueling (which, as of February 2024, still operates some aircraft painted with the Level livery), but it could be reactivated when Level acquires its own AOC.  

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