Air France draws a line on its low-cost subsidiary just one year after its launch

An Airbus A320 in the colors of Joon. - ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

Joon failed in his mission.
Air France announced on Thursday its decision to absorb its low-cost subsidiary, launched in late 2017 to face competition from low-cost airlines.

"The multiplicity of brands has created complexity and has unfortunately weakened the power of the Air France brand", according to the management who believes that "the integration of Joon within Air France should bring many benefits, including the harmonization of fleet, products, brand ".

Staff in sneakers

The subsidiary, which today serves 10 medium-haul and 6 long-haul destinations with 17 aircraft, apparently did not meet its public. "The brand has been understood from the outset by customers, by employees, by markets, by investors," said in a statement the group led since September by the Canadian Benjamin Smith.

With a staff in sneakers and casual dress, she aimed to conquer a new, younger clientele and to serve as a "laboratory" to experiment innovations eventually extended to other companies of the group (Air France, KLM, HOP! low-cost Transavia).

The unions are satisfied

The unions welcomed this decision. Last November, the inter-union SNPNC / Unsa-PNC complained of the demanding working conditions and insufficient remuneration. Joon's hostesses and stewards had been recruited externally at a cost that was about 40% lower than that of the same category of staff at Air France.

The merger will take place "if possible at the beginning of the summer season, April 1", said Flora Arrighi of Unac. Commercial cabin crew (PNC) will be integrated "in the workforce of Air France, under contract Air France," she said.

"The Joon PNC will join Air France with the same start-up salary but the evolution of their career will be slower," said Stephane Chausson Unsa-PNC, noting that they will nevertheless benefit within Air France of "much better social conditions".

A "historic" agreement for aircrew

The Joon integration project was announced in parallel with the conclusion of a categorical agreement between Air France and its cabin crew. Categorical negotiations with pilots are still ongoing.

Benjamin Smith, quoted in the statement, said he was "very happy with this new balanced deal". The SNPNC and the Unsa-PNC welcomed a "historic agreement" that "puts the PNC back at the heart of Air France", "restores a future" to employees and "improves (their) quality of life and (their) schedules" .