Air France-KLM has confirmed it will close down Joon, the LCC hybrid sister airline to Air France, and absorb its employees and aircraft into the mainline carrier.

In a Jan. 10 statement, Air France-KLM conceded that the Joon brand was “difficult to understand from the outset for customers, for employees, for markets and for investors.”

Joon was positioned as a hybrid carrier, combining high-quality service and modern branding aimed at millennials with a low-cost base. Its decision to use externally recruited cabin crew had prompted the ire of Air France’s unions.

The ill-fated carrier was launched in December 2017 under the group’s previous leader but was immediately put under review by new Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith, who wasted little time in closing it down.

“The plurality of brands in the marketplace has created much complexity and, unfortunately, weakened the power of the Air France brand,” Air France-KLM said.

“All Joon flights currently sold or for sale would, of course, be operated by Joon until the project is completed, and then taken over by Air France.” This will involve the “integration of Joon employees and aircraft into Air France.”

The decision to close the airline was announced alongside the signing of a new labor agreement between Air France and its three cabin crew unions, SNPNC, UNAC and UNSA-PNC.

“With this balanced agreement, I hope to see improved trust and fruitful dialogue between Air France and our employees, as I firmly believe that we must have employee buy-in and support in order to truly become a global leader,” Smith said. The agreement follows an earlier deal signed in October by the majority of Air France’s labor groups.

Kerry Reals, kerry@realsreporting.com