Meet ‘Joon,’ Air France’s new airline for Millennials

 

Air France-KLM announced late last year that it would launch a new stand-alone carrier to help it push back against encroaching high-end and budget competitors. Now, we know the name: “Joon.”

That was announced Thursday, with Air France describing Joon as a Millennial-focused carrier “aimed at a young working clientele whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology.”

Air France says Joon – the French word for “young” is “jeune” – will launch this fall with with medium-haul flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle. Long-haul routes are to debut in summer 2018, though the company did not add further details on its route places.

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The introduction of Joon comes as Air France-KLM and other traditional European airlines are fighting a two-front battle against fast-growing competitors. At the high end, Gulf and Middle East carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines have expanded rapidly in Europe. In doing so, they’ve begun to siphon off connecting passengers on routes to destinations in Asia, Africa and Australia/New Zealand.

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On the budget front, discounters like Ryanair and easyJet have continued their decades-long proliferation across Europe, expanding in markets previously dominated by the likes of Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia and other traditional carriers. But perhaps more ominously for the latter, now Norwegian and WOW Air are leading a new breed of discounters that are rapidly introducing cut-rate fares on dozens of new routes between Europe and North America.

It’s against this backdrop that Air France-KLM is rolling out Joon. Lufthansa and British Airways have tried similar moves with their Level and Eurowings units, respectively. But those units have been aimed more at discounters.

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As for Joon, Air France-KLM plans to operate the unit with fewer frills than on its standard international service. But it is pushing back against the notion Joon will be a full-fledged discount unit.

“Joon will not be a low-cost airline as it will offer original products and services that reflect those of Air France,” the company says in a buzzword-heavy statement revealing the outfit’s name. “Joon is a lifestyle brand and a state of mind. Short, punchy and international, the name Joon is designed to address a worldwide audience.”

Air France offered few specifics on the launch of Joon, though a spokeswoman told Bloomberg News that the unit will start this fall with six medium-haul planes before adding four long-haul aircraft in 2018.

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Describing Joon’s “visual identity,” Air France said in its statement that the look would be “based on an electric blue color code symbolizing the airline’s dynamic attitude, as well as the sky, space and travel. The uniform of Joon’s flight attendants will be inspired by the new fashion codes, basic and chic.”

Beyond that, the company said more details – including the initial routes, exact livery, and flight attendant uniforms – would be announced in September.

Stay tuned …

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