It appears millennials finally killed something they should have: The millennial-focused airline. Air France‘s Joon brand is officially dead as the company agreed to fold its operations back into the parent organization. The project to integrate Joon back into Air France does not have a firm timeline for completion, but it is now underway.
In a statement released Thursday Air France conceded that the Joon branding was a flop. It created confusion in the market and did not deliver sufficient cost savings nor product differentiation. It was too small to have the impact it needed. The statement describes the work as a “project studying the future of the Joon brand” but also admits that running it as a separate brand was a mistake.
…[T]he 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.
Nearly a year ago company employees acknowledged the branding challenges. In the intervening months little changed.
Read More: Au revoir, Joon; we hardly knew you
Bringing Joon back into the Air France operation is expected to deliver significant benefits to the overall operation, outweighing the minimal savings in flight attendant pay that the smaller operation realized. The company also confirms that the A350 aircraft on order will remain part of the Air France fleet, though with “a more economical cabin configuration.” Presumably this is a higher density configuration that Joon enjoyed with no first class cabin and more economy and premium economy seats on board. Then again, Smith has noted the value in delivering a consistent product to premium cabin passengers. It also includes a new inflight wifi service provider on the A350s.
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.
While crediting millennials for the death of Joon is a cute joke, the reality is that union pressures were far more compelling in the end of the experiment. New CEO Ben Smith has quickly demonstrated an ability to negotiate that mine field successfully, at least thus far.
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