Air France To Shut Down ‘Millennial’ Airline Joon

Air France has announced plans to shut down the ‘millennial’ airline Joon. Its point of difference was that is was a new take on air travel, with no uniforms, organic food, and virtual reality.

This means that the venture of this new type of ‘airline’ has only last 13 months, and can be labeled at the first airline causality of 2019.

Simple Flying did suspect so a month ago, but when reached out for comment Air France was very quick to deny it.

“Air France – KLM denies the information that it has decided to suspend Joon’s operations. No such decision has been taken. Joon flights, all operated on behalf of Air France, are continuing to operate normally and remain available for purchase.”

But it seems they have pulled a backflip and finally decided to pull the plug.

Why are they shutting down Joon?

Essentially, because it has no place in the business model of Air France – KLM. With Joon out of the way, it would mean that the team can focus on improving the current brands in their portfolio.

They were attempting to create a new low-cost carrier (to compete with Norwegian and IAG’s LEVEL) with a ‘cool’ image but failed in several areas. For one, the pilots were transferred over from Air France, and as such, were still highly paid and unionized. So no cost savings in labour.

There was also the problem of brand confusion. Passengers used to the premium experience of Air France did not understand the cheaper and leaner alternative. Because of the limited Joon fleet, some flights were operated by Joon but other times by Air France. To passengers it seemed like Joon was Air France, but not as good.

Joon has a fleet of 15 aircraft. Photo: Joon

As such, the new CEO of Air France, Ben Smith (You may remember him as the CEO of Air Canada) will wrap up Joon operations and integrate the airline back into Air France.

“Despite the many positive impacts of Joon, in particular the invaluable contribution of the teams at Joon who launched the company and worked with passion and dedication, the brand was difficult to understand from the outset for customers, for employees, for markets and for investors.” – Statment from Air France

What does this mean for Joon going forward?

Current flights will continue and Air France will honor all ticket sales. Eventually, passengers booking for Joon might find themselves on an Air France flight and then the website will be shut down. Air France plans on returning the loaned aircraft (13 A320s and four A340s).

Joon was to be launching 6 new routes in the summer of 2019. Photo: Joon

The crew will be reintegrated back into Air France, and the CEO has promised that all Joon employees will remain employed. He intends to hire all 600 flight attendants, who as they will be transferring over the Air France pay scale, will almost double their income overnight. This has definitely scored him some points with the unions and likely that this will be a very popular decision.

Through integration, Air France would see many benefits thanks to fleet, brand, and product harmonisation. Managing the operation would be improved through a common fleet of aircraft. Air France will also be able to ensure a smooth transition of the Airbus A350, currently on order, to the Air France fleet with a more economical cabin configuration. – Statement from Air France

Overall, we at Simple Flying are sad to see an airline disappear from the market, but as no planes are being scrapped, few jobs are being lost, and an airline will start to regain its profitability and image (Air France) then it is good news indeed.

What do you think? Should Air France wrap up the Joon experiment?