The Aviation Eye

Joon to cease operations and to be re-absorbed back into Air France

Photo by András Soós /
The Airbus A320 Family aircraft series were used for flights based in and out of European cities covered by Joon.

Joon will be integrated back into Air France as part of the airline’s restructuring practices to cut down incurring losses caused by this venture. Not to mention, many of us knew the end of Joon was pretty near as there were rumors about the airline’s dissolvement back in November 2018, however the Air France management had not taken any decision and hence denied all reports by stating out that they were just mere rumors. Benjamin Smith, the newly-appointed CEO of Air France-KLM was definitely displeased with the operations of Joon and was not really in favour with continuing it and hence took the decision to re-absorb it back into mainline Air France. All of the crew operations will be integrated into Air France. The airline currently has a fleet of 17 aircraft based out of Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG) which consists of 7x Airbus A320-200s, 4x Airbus A321-200s for intra-Europe flights and 4x Airbus A340-300s for medium and long-haul flights to Cairo, Johannesburg and Mumbai and has 10x Airbus A350-900s in order. All of the aircrafts were transferred from mainline Air France and the average fleet age for all the aircrafts was 14.4 years.

Photo by Guillaume Fevrier /
The A340-300 was exclusively used only for medium & long-haul routes to Cairo, Mumbai and Johannesburg.

Joon – How was it established?

Back in July 2017, SNPL (the Pilot Union of Air France) approved for the low-cost project called Boost (however the airline was to be branded as Joon) after almost three years of confrontation between the crew unions and the airline management. Back in that time the airline’s main goal was to reduce costs on European/Asian routes by which they could regain the competitiveness with the ME3 Airlines (Emirates, Qatar, Etihad) and also to provide an Air France esque like experience, but in cheaper price.

The word ‘Joon’ was derived from the french word ‘jeune’ which means young, hence the entire airline aimed at a young working clientele, the millennials (18 to 35 year-olds), whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology. This new brand had been entirely designed to meet their requirements and aspirations, with an authentic and connected offering that stands out in the world of air transport.

Joon took over low-yielding mainline Air France routes and operated under same Air France flight numbers. The cities where Joon was operating were Cairo, Berlin, Budapest, Mumbai (Bombay), Naples, Rome, Bergen, Oslo, Lisbon, Porto, Cape Town, Barcelona and Istanbul,

What went wrong with Joon?

As the airline had intended to start off as low-cost carrier by offering better competitive prices by cutting down on premium service by minimal difference, few things didn’t look right for Joon to be called as LCC because it was offering full-service on their long-haul international routes which were operated using the Airbus A340-300s, which went through major interior re-haul, that sported newer and different Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class product. The airline was offered meals to all passengers (that included Economy) in their long-haul flights, along with that, buy-on-board “A la Carte” menu were offered to passengers on all flights which had an extensive list of French and other European delicacies served to you in an unique way. (They even served you fresh smoothies at free of cost for Premium Economy and Business Class passengers)

© Air France / Joon

© Air France / Joon

However, things didn’t really go the way Air France wanted. The leader of Pilot Union in Air France made sure that the pilots in Joon are paid in same amounts of what a pilot in mainline Air France would earn. This again affected the killed the purpose what a low-cost airline would serve. The low-cost carriers run with different strategy and often have different payment structures, in that case it means the crew is paid lesser than what a full-carrier airline would offer. Another example of it is, Lufthansa CityLine which is a low-cost subsidiary of Lufthansa, which is aimed at cutting costs to fly from short & long-haul flights to leisure destinations.

Another factor which affected the operations of Joon was their fleet itself. They were operating the aged Airbus A340-300s in long-haul flights which had already reached the 20-year old mark. Due to the age, the aircrafts were subject to more technical snags that could lead to grounding of the aircraft for inspection and servicing, and were also subject to higher maintenance costs. Many airlines (especially the low-cost carriers) in recent times rely over the newer twin-jets to cut down the unwanted costs, but adding to the surprise Joon operated the older gas-guzzling quad-jets which has deemed to be inefficient in today’s industrial expectations with several airlines phasing them out for newer fuel-efficient wide-body twin-jets.

With these problems piling up in the record of Joon & Air France along with strikes taken by the crew unions of Air France, Jean-Marc Janaillac, the CEO of Air France-KLM group added another blow to the list of unending problems of Air France, when he resigned from his position on May, 2018. after the striking staff union rejected the pay raise proposed by him, when they demanded more pay raise for upcoming years.

Jean-Marc Janaillac, the ex-CEO of Air France-KLM group served the airline for 2 years, before taking his abrupt decision of resigning.

Jean-Marc Janaillac, was named chief executive in 2016 with a mandate to defuse tensions after years of strikes and labour disputes – including a notorious 2015 incident when two executives had their shirts torn off while escaping workers protesting plans to cut nearly 3,000 jobs.

Appointment of New CEO & Aftermath of Joon’s aircrafts

The Board of Directors of Air France-KLM Group appointed, Benjamin Smith as the new CEO of Air France-KLM on August, 2018. He is very well known for restructuring Air Canada to an extent where it is today. Under new leadership approach for the group, he has established a new organizational structure which will help restructure Air France. Thereby, as part of restructure planning, Joon branding will soon cease to exist officially.

Benjamin Smith is a reputed senior airline industry executive at international level. He has played a major role at Air Canada over the past two decades, where he has been a key player in the airline’s economic and commercial development, its transformation, its value creation and the engagement of teams.

From current media reports, it is set that Joon will cease to exist as an airline from June or July. And speaking about the fleet, the Joon’s A340s will not be repainted or reconfigured. They will remain branded inside and out as Joon aircraft until they are retired in 2021. The livery in A320s will be updated during the next maintenance check. And the undelivered A350s will house the Air France livery, but the first 6 aircraft’s will be delivered housing the Joon interior. There has been no decision made yet as when to reconfigure them into an Air France cabin.

However, as being an Aviation Geek, I do get disappointed when I hear about an airline announcing that they will soon cease operations, but here in this case, I am actually glad with the fact that Air France will get rid of it, Joon was never completely understood by airline loyal travelers themselves, they tried avoiding Joon flights maybe because they didn’t wanted to get LCC service while paying a premium. But they definitely didn’t knew that the Joon aircraft newer cabins which had sporty interiors, and had in-flight entertainment streamed through your personal device using WiFi along with the delicious food choices available in buy-on-board menu which were different than an traditional airline would offer. A few of more things also made Joon be apart from different airlines operating, but in current condition of Air France, it didn’t really make sense to start an airline with another branding and and yet have an airline management confused among themselves whether the airline is catered for LCC passengers or an airline catered for millennials.

Jenson Arunkumar

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