The one thing about Joon was that it never made any real marketing sense. The reason for its existence wasn’t to offer low-cost travel, it was to offer some sort of more attractive option to millennial’s. who seeing its awesomeness would suddenly feel more likely to fly Air France – which by definition, was being made to look as though it was only for ‘mature millennials’ or grown ups.
It seems Ben Smith, the new Air France CEO is as bemused by the airlines selling point as anyone else seems to be. Why isn’t the parent airline doing this anyway? With labour agreements and pay finally resolved after years of acrimonious disputes, Air France seems to have a the capacity for a strategy again, based on certainties agreed with the unions.
Smith seems determined to end Joon, spokespeople have said “he doesn’t understand the point of the brand”. He isn’t alone. It’s real point was to undermine the main airlines labour unions, by creating a new lower cost work environment to keep the group relevant, while AirFrance effectively rotted under the reign of strikes and management indecision.
The loss of Joon isn’t yet decided, but the pressure from the top to stop wasting money on it and revitalise the main AirFrance brand, seems overwhelming. What will really kill it is the simple fact that customers have been unimpressed, the groups investors consider it a chronic mistake, and it’s extremely unpopular with crews.
The one thorn in the side of getting AirFrance back on form is the pilots. They want 4% pay rises on top of the 4.7% already agreed with the whole airline. They also don’t want to have to do what their colleagues at KLM do – stay two days on layovers in airport hotels. They don’t want to give up their city centre location hotels, which can cost three times more.
The fate of Joon may not be fully decided yet, but its whole purpose was erroneous, its marketing incomprehensible and it isn’t working. It’s one airline nobody will particularly bothered about passing into the annals of aviation history.