The bizarre marketing concept established by AirFrance in December 2017, which was filled with marketing hype and nonsensical phrases about millennials and their sensibilities, never made sense except from one perspective.
The airline was a bet that AirFrance itself was a doomed basket case riven with industrial relations problems and Joon could offer a way out. They recruited cabin crew externally on totally new contracts, and other than hand-picked managers from AirFrance’s upper echelons, the whole organisation was an attempt at circumventing the primary airline.
And there was deep motivation for that; the now departed CEO and somewhat aristocratic elitist Alexandre de Juniac (who these days runs the sedate world of IATA), was personally humiliated along with senior board members, when strikers managed to corner them, force them to run for their lives and climb a fence, as their shirts were literally ripped off their backs. It looked all the more like another French Revolution.
They were so shaken by it and so convinced that AirFrance was probably doomed to become little more than a small full-service airline, they allowed Joon to be born.
And yet things changed. New management from outside of France, in the guise of a Canadian Group CEO arrived, a new female CEO was appointed for AirFrance. The new team decided from day one that the labour relations issues had to be solved once and for all, pretty much at any cost, or AirFrance was doomed.
They were also mystified as to what Joon stood for. High-end millennial appeal and yet not really low-cost? A feeder airline to AirFrance ,when the millennials finally grew up and realised they could afford a real airline? It was all puff and marketing guff and everyone knew it.
Millennials hated it, staff found it painful to work for, the unions and AirFrance staff resented it, AF-KLM’s group investors didn’t get it either. It was a transparent flop. When the new CEO, Ben Smith tried to get his head around it, he wasted no time in saying outright it was a doomed project.
The simultaneous announcement of a long-term deal with all of the AirFrance unions, which adds to October 2018’s deals with other parts of the airlines many unions, suggest its closure was part of the agreement, and one everyone feels they’ve gained by.
Perhaps in the end if Joon gave us anything, it was long sought after peace at AirFrance. It told the unions there was a way forward without them if they didn’t co-operate, and perhaps everyone finally came to their senses. No matter what the politics, at last AirFrance can concentrate on being an airline and adapting to the modern world.
Joon staff are to be incorporated into AirFrance, and once existing flights and bookings are completed, the airline will close as soon as is viable. Ideally it will be gone by mid-year, any residual bookings and routes will be served directly by AirFrance.
At least now we can look forward to A350’s being delivered in AF colours and not Joon’s as had been the original plan.
Joon operated 8 A320, 5 A321, and 4 A340-300’s.