Back in 2017, Air France launched a leisure subsidiary known as Joon. Aiming to capture the younger market, this venture ultimately lasted less than two years before Joon’s operations were merged back into those of the French flag carrier. But what exactly happened at the youthful carrier during this time? Let’s take a look and find out.
Air France launched its Joon subsidiary in 2017, targeting short and medium-haul destinations in an attempt to gain a greater market share among younger European travelers. The airline’s name was a play on jeune, the French word for ‘young.’
On several of its routes, Joon found itself up against established European low-cost carriers. As such, it reportedly utilized lower-paid cabin crew in order to keep its costs competitive. USA Today described Joon as an “airline for millennials.” Despite its budget competition, Joon emphasized in a statement released at the time of its launch that:
“Joon will not be a low-cost airline as it will offer original products and services that reflect those of Air France. Joon is a lifestyle brand and a state of mind. Short, punchy, and international, the name Joon is designed to address a worldwide audience.”
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According to data from ch-aviation.com, Joon’s brief period of operation saw it fly a total of 17 aircraft. All of these were Airbus products, of which the smallest but most numerous was the A320-200 narrowbody. Joon flew eight of these, along with five A321-200s.
In terms of widebody aircraft, four A340-300s were present in Joon’s fleet. In November 2018, Joon introduced four rows of ‘CosyJoon’ couch-style ‘beds’ on each of these widebodies. This service was aimed at families traveling together with small children.
When Joon commenced operations in November 2017, it initially served short-haul European destinations. These included Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon, and Porto, although it later added others such as Manchester and Stockholm. Long-haul services commenced in 2018, linking Paris to Brazil, India, Iran, Mauritius, Sint Maarten, and South Africa.
The end of the line
Ben Smith became the Air France-KLM Group’s CEO in September 2018. Shortly afterward, rumors began to emerge in the media that, under this new leadership, Air France would elect to dissolve its leisure subsidiary. The French flag carrier eventually opted to do so in January 2019, setting June 2019 as its chosen end date the following month. It stated:
“Air France has decided to launch a project studying the future of the Joon brand and the integration of Joon employees and aircraft into Air France. The brand was difficult to understand from the outset for customers, employees, markets, and investors.”
On the evening of June 26th, 2019, Joon’s final two flights touched down in Paris from Prague and Rome. Following this, the airline and its employees were integrated back into Air France’s operations. Joon had had big plans to operate modern widebodies like the Airbus A350, but it ultimately didn’t fit into the market the way Air France had hoped.
What did you make of Joon? Did you ever end up flying on Air France’s short-lived leisure subsidiary? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.