Air France announced a new low cost carrier named Joon to compete with its European and North American rivals in 2017.
Joon will join the Air France / KLM group in September 2017 with a fleet of Airbus A320. The airline will start with medium-haul flights from Air France’s hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in the Fall with long-haul flights to commerce in Summer 2018 with Airbus A340 and A350.
Joon is dubbed as a lifestyle brand aiming for the 18-35 year olds who “revolve around digital technology.” Branding starts with a livery that features white and blue color cues with a modern font. The name will be shown twice with the first at the front of the plane also including the Air France logo.
“We started with our target customer segment, the millennials, to create this new brand that means something to them. Our brief was simple: to find a name to illustrate a positive state of mind. This generation has inspired us a lot: epicurean and connected, they are opportunistic in a positive sense of the word as they know how to enjoy every moment and are in search of quality experiences that they want to share with others. Joon is a brand that carries these values”, said Caroline Fontaine, VP Brand at Air France.
Flight attendant uniforms will have a minimalistic youthful feel featuring a mix of blue and white colors. “With Joon, we have created a young and connected brand that will give the Group a new impetus. Designed for our millennial customers, it will offer more than just a flight and a fare, it will offer a global travel experience. We’ll provide a further update in September, with more details on the brand’s content, products, services, destinations and range of fares!” said Dominique Wood, EVP Brand and Communications at Air France.
The new subsidiary will be managed by Jean-Michel Mathieu, CEO who will join the Air France Executive Committee. “The creation of a new airline is a historic moment in many ways. Joon is another step in the deployment of the Trust Together strategic project. Its creation will improve the profitability of the Air France Group, enabling it to reduce its costs and ensure the sustainability of its business model. Jean-Michel Mathieu, who has taken part in the development of this new airline since the start, today becomes its CEO. With all the Group’s teams, we are concentrating our energy on the successful launch of Joon.” said Franck Terner, CEO of Air France.
What To Expect
To better compete with airlines in the low cost segment, Joon will likely feature a high capacity two class configuration (Premium Economy and Economy) in its aircrafts. The airline will also likely include the following operational items:
- Its own website with tie-ins to Air France’s reservation system
- Its own marketing and branding that will be non-traditional and through digital channels
- While pilots will be on the same pay scale as mainline, all other crews and staff will be outsourced to lower the overall costs
- Fares will be priced similarly to other low cost carrier
- Codesharing with Air France and its subsidiary airlines
- Ability to earn and redeem miles in the Flying Blue program
- Streaming inflight entertainment system over seat back screens
- Credit card only payment options
- Lowest fare class will not include meals, complimentary baggage or full size carry on allowance, bid for upgrades options and will be non-changeable and non-refundable
- Multiple ancillary opportunities including meal options, baggage allowances, fast track services (check in, security, boarding), lounge access, upgrades (bid or paid)
Joon is not be the only airline targeting younger demographics looking for experience over on board thrills. Here is a list of key competitors that have long haul transatlantic operations:
|Airline||Subsidiary of||Key Base||Service||Aircraft Type|
|LEVEL (News)||International Airlines Group||Barcelona (BCN)||Long Haul Low Cost||Airbus|
|Eurowings||Lufthansa||Munich (MUC)||Med/Long Haul Low Cost||Airbus|
|Norwegian Air Shuttle (Insight)||–||London (LGW)||Med/Long Haul Low Cost||Boeing|
|WOW Air||–||Reykjavík (KEF)||Long Haul Ultra Low Cost||Airbus|
|Airline||Subsidiary of||Key Base||Service||Aircraft Type|
|Air Canada Rouge||Air Canada||Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL)||Short/Med/Long Haul Low Cost||Airbus and Boeing|
|Air Transat||–||Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL)||Long Haul Low Cost||Airbus|
|WestJet||–||Toronto (YYZ), Calgary (YYC)||Short/Med/Long Haul Low Cost||Boeing|
All of these airlines already have long haul operations which Joon would not start until Summer 2018. The most population destinations are London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) and San Francisco / Oakland International Airport (OAK). Norwegian Air Shuttle from Europe and Air Canada Rouge are the strongest with more than 20 frequencies each across the pond. The latter and Air Transat are the only ones out of this group that serve complimentary meals for all passengers in its transatlantic routes.
Key To Success
The airline is targeting the 18-35 year olds which will require a different way to market and sell its products and services. Being youthful and fun (as seenby its logo below) is a default element and should not be the only thing that Joon uses to differentiate itself from its parent company.
The targeted segment has a low attention span with price sensitivity and will require a lot more outside of box thinking to convince them to purchase. The airline’s exterior livery, while youthful, can use an interior design that provides more Instagram-able moments (similar to the Amare design featured by Brussels Airlines for its Tomorrowland passengers (Related News – Brussel Airlines Deepens Partnership with Tomorrowland).
This is also the case with any items that will be presented to the traveller including ticketing/check in screens, mobile application design, meals, on board entertainment and tie-in experiences. The latter is particularly important as 18-35 year olds want distinctive travel experiences that are filled with personalized options. Joon can demonstrate its understanding of this segment’s needs by selling experience add-ons (including side trips, accommodation and other transport options) that are curated specifically for this group.
While we expect that Joon will be part of Air France-KLM Group’s Flying Blue frequent flyer program, the airline may be better off creating its own simplified version that is based on spending. Additionally, it can take a page out of Lufthansa’s books by allowing passengers to add trains onto the ticket (Related Insight – Maximizing Airlines and Railway Partnerships) in the future.