In the ever-competitive world of airlines, Air France is jumping into the fray and launching its own new airline. Like Level (the low-fare carrier from British Airways and Iberia owner IAG) and Eurowings (Lufthansa’s low-fare branch), Air France realizes it needs to do something to compete and capture the interest of younger, cost-conscious fliers.
Named Joon (a play on jeune, the French word for “young”), Air France is designing this new lifestyle airline with a focus on millennial travelers. The goal is that Joon will complement its full-service Air France brand flights and capitalize on the trend of appealing to young, working travelers in the 18-35 age bracket while also staying competitive on airfare.
Airlines such as Norwegian and WOW Air have upended the long-haul pricing market pushing traditional airlines on either side of the Atlantic to lower airfare. By creating another airline with a leaner cost structure than Air France, it can compete more favorably in the current airfare marketplace.
Joon will initially fly medium-haul routes from Paris Charles de Gaulle this fall before jumping into shorter flights within Europe to compete with the reduced fare structure of airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. It will add longer flights in summer 2018, presumably to battle the cheaper prices offered by new airlines like Eurowings, Level, and Norwegian. No specific routes for the airline have yet been announced.
The move is not surprising given the general aviation landscape focusing on trimming behind-the-scenes costs as much as possible. Flight attendant negotiations will result in lower wages for cabin crew than their counterparts at Air France, but the flight deck crew will actually be from Air France.
Few details have emerged as to what exactly the millennial enticement will be, although more details are expected in September. Air France notes that Joon is not meant to be a budget experience, although we don’t know what the onboard product will be yet. We do know that there will be a strong focus on appealing to millennials’ affinity for integrating digital technology into their everyday lives.
Perhaps Joon will take a page from the KLM digital playbook, which includes allowing passengers to opt in and meet other fellow fliers on the same plane with similar interests. It could also mean a greater focus on making social media part of the travel experience.
According to Caroline Fontaine, vice president of the brand at Air France, the millennial generation is “epicurean and connected . . . and in search of quality experiences that they want to share with others.”
As Air France’s younger sibling, Joon will offer original products and services that “reflect those of Air France.” One thing’s for sure: Millennials love champagne just as much as their parents do, so let’s hope there’s plenty of bubbles stocked on board.