Air France formally launched on Monday its new lower-cost airline ‘Joon’, hoping to attract a younger clientele and restore some routes to profitability.
Air France said on Monday that Joon would start off by flying to six destinations. Starting from December 1, Joon will fly to four cities in Europe – Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon and Porto. It will then fly to Fortaleza in Brazil and the Seychelles in summer 2018.
Joon, which is targeting the ‘Millennials’ generation, will be run by Jean-Michel Mathieu, who has been involved with the project since the start and has held various positions in sales, digital and revenue management within the Air France-KLM group.
Air France wants to bring down costs in order to compete better against Gulf carriers on long-haul routes, and against budget carriers on short-haul routes.
Its move comes as three of its biggest rivals in the low-cost space all suffer from their own individual problems. Ryanair, Europe’s biggest discount carrier, is locked in a bitter dispute with pilots over pay and working conditions; U.K.-based Easyjet is losing its star CEO Carolyn McCall, and is facing possible restrictions on flights to EU markets due to Britain’s decision to leave the EU; and German-based Air Berlin has filed for bankruptcy after years of losses. A number of companies are picking over Air Berlin’s carcass now, including International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh said Monday his company had made a bid, but added that he expected most of Air Berlin’s assets to end up with Germany’s venerable flag-carrier Lufthansa, which already leases 38 planes from it.