Air France has said it plans to close its short-lived Joon subsidiary and integrate its aircraft and staff into the main airline.

Joon was launched in 2017 and marketed as a “millennial” carrier aimed at attracting a younger generation of passengers. At the time, Air France insisted Joon was not a low-cost airline and was instead focused on becoming “a lifestyle brand and a state of mind”.

Announcing its intentions to retire the brand, Air France said: “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.

“The plurality of brands in the marketplace has created much complexity and unfortunately weakened the power of the Air France brand.

“The simplification of the brand portfolio, while capitalising on the Air France mother brand, is an undeniable asset for our employees, our customers, and indeed all stake holders. It would also enable Air France to complete this integration without impacting the efficiency of the Air France KLM Group.”

The closure had been rumoured to be on the cards since new CEO Benjamin Smith joined the company, with sources claiming he ‘wasn’t convinced’ of the value of the brand.

However, Air France had already been planning the expansion of Joon; it was due to take over its parent carrier’s Manchester-Paris flights this summer and announced it would launch a route between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Quito in Ecuador in May.

Detailing part of its plan for retiring the brand, Air France said in a statement: “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.

“All Joon flights currently sold or for sale would of course be operated by Joon until the project is completed, and then taken over by Air France.”

The plans were outlined as CEO Smith announced that Air France had signed an agreement with cabin crew unions SNPNC, UNAC and UNSA-PNC, bringing an end to the disruption caused by strikes throughout 2018.

Welcoming the agreement, Smith said: “With this balanced agreement, I hope to see improved trust and fruitful dialogue between Air France and our employees, as I firmly believe that we must have employee buy-in and support in order to truly become a global leader.”

airfrance.co.uk

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