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Joon by Air France – Boon or bust?

Air France has launched another airline – but,  it’s not a low cost carrier, as many think.

The recent launch of Joon (pronounced ‘jeune’ in French and meaning ‘young’ in English) by Air France is aimed at taking on the budget European carriers and monopoly of the ME3 i.e. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. Joon is based at Paris CDG and presently operating medium haul flights within Europe with Airbus A320’s to be followed by long haul flights to Brazil, Egypt, Iran, Seychelles and South Africa with the Airbus A340-300 (passed down from AF) and A350 by next year. Employees of the new airline are aged between 18-35 and are required to be experienced in digital technology. Operations commenced on 1st December, 2017.

One misconception appears to be the fact that Joon is a ‘low cost’ airline which Air France refutes. As stated by AF ”Joon will not be a low cost airline as it will offer products and services that reflect those of AF” which brings one to ask why does AF wish to take on budget low cost carriers with yet another full fare airline? It might make sense taking on the ME3 offering all the frills for full fares but in this case AF appears to be using a single hybrid model to target both markets or to be exact a younger ‘Millennial’ clientele being the tech savvy generation born in the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s who drive consumer trends while finding ways to save money, making them almost look like a different breed of humans. This ‘Millennial’ market however, will look for a bit more than just a ‘lifestyle brand and a state of mind’ or something ‘short, punchy and international’, power ports and wifi, the main attraction being low fares for which there is now plenty to choose from. Here you are offering a product that matches the services and amenities (and fares) of your parent company, the only difference being that its run by tech savvy youngsters and seeks to attract the same. What next, Apple Air?

Its probably safe to say that time will tell whether this venture will encounter smooth sailing or severe turbulence. As an aviation enthusiast and frequent traveler, I would be tempted to sample this product simply out of curiosity and an excuse to take to the skies again, but your average, layman passenger may be more inclined to opt for a well known legacy carrier like AF (if it flies to the same destination) if they are paying the same fare, especially in light of the fact that in the event of severe delays or cancellations, a well known legacy carrier would be in a better position (and definitely more experienced) to handle such scenarios and arrange alternate flights and hotel accommodation for stranded passengers. In order to compete with other European low cost budget carriers, you match fare, product and services and the same would apply if competing with the ME3 which would further require frequencies to a very large number of destinations in the Middle East and beyond. One or the other. Simply flying Joon because its hip, trendy and chic will not warrant profits.

by Moin Abbasi

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