Week in travel: Air France close “difficult to understand” sister airline

G-Spot of Europe ad complaint rejected, Japan introduces a new tourist tax, and Stansted has its busiest-ever year

Air France have taken the decision to close their millennial-targeted airline Joon and reintegrate aircraft and staff back into the main brand. Joon only launched as a lower-cost airline in September 2017 with 100 per cent fruit juice, craft ale and organic quinoa served on board.

A statement from Air France read: “Despite the many positive impacts of Joon, in particular the invaluable contribution of the teams at Joon who launched the company and worked with passion and dedication, the brand was difficult to understand from the outset for customers, for employees, for markets and for investors.”

All Joon flights sold and currently on sale will be operated.

And they come to an agreement with unions

The agreement should bring a difficult period to a close — roibu / Shutterstock Week in travel: Air France close “difficult to understand” sister airline
The agreement should bring a difficult period to a close — roibu / Shutterstock

The same statement from Air France also announced that the carrier has come to an agreement with the unions representing cabin crew – SNPNC, UNAC, and UNSA-PNC. Discussions have taken place between the airline and the unions over the past number of weeks.

The agreement should bring to an end what has been a torrid year for labour relations at the airline. Rolling two-day walkouts last started in February 2018. These led to France’s finance minister warning that the state would not bail out the country’s flag carrier and that it could collapse.

Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, said: “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.”

Japan introduces new tourist tax

28.7 million tourists visited Japan in 2017 — Shutterstock Week in travel: Air France close “difficult to understand” sister airline
28.7 million tourists visited Japan in 2017 — Shutterstock

Visitors to Japan will now have to pay a tax when leaving the country. The $9.22 (¥1,000) “sayonara tax” will “expand and enhance the country’s tourist infrastructure”, according to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, the Independent reports.

The revenue generated by the levy will be spent on improving resources and access to information, as well as developing a “comfortable, stress-free tourist environment”.

28.7 million tourists visited Japan in 2017, according to Forbes, and the industry generated nearly $40 billion for the economy. Between 2011 and 2015, the country’s tourism industry grew by 33 per cent each year.

2018 was the busiest year ever for Stansted

28 million passengers travelling through Stansted's gates — Massimo Parisi / Shutterstock Week in travel: Air France close “difficult to understand” sister airline
28 million passengers travelling through Stansted’s gates — Massimo Parisi / Shutterstock

Stansted airport had a record-breaking 2018, with 28 million passengers travelling through its gates. This is a year-on-year increase of more than eight per cent.

The British airport, which is undergoing a $767 million (£600 million) transformation, also smashed its performance in December as two million people used it for their travels, a growth of ten per cent year-on-year.

Ken O’Toole, Stansted chief executive, said: “During the year we welcomed six new airlines, including the world-leading Emirates offering a daily service to Dubai and 150 convenient onward connections, and also saw many of our airline partners increase capacity and choice of destinations, particularly Ryanair and Jet2.com.

“Stansted was the fastest growing major airport in the UK during 2018, and one of the fastest growing across Europe, and we are confident we will continue to grow passenger numbers and provide even more choice of airlines and destinations, including building on our work to secure more long-haul services to destinations across China, India and the US.”

Regulators reject G-Spot of Europe ad complaint

The campaign caused a bit of a stir — Go Vilnius Week in travel: Air France close “difficult to understand” sister airline
The campaign caused a bit of a stir — Go Vilnius

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint about an ad that described Vilnius as the “G-Spot of Europe”. The ASA described the suggestive poster as being “light-hearted and humorous”.

The ad was produced by Go Vilnius in August as an attempt to attract more visitors to Lithuania’s capital. It showed a woman lying on a map of Europe, with her eyes closed and gripping Vilnius’ location.

The ruling states: “The ASA considered that the ad was risqué and sexually suggestive in tone, due to the reference to ‘Vilnius the G-Spot of Europe’, and the image of the woman gripping the map with her eyes closed.

“However, we considered the ad portrayed that suggestiveness in a light-hearted and humorous way, for example through the statement ‘Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it it’s amazing’, and because the woman appeared in a surreal and unrealistic scenario, indicating the location of Vilnius on the map of Europe.

“We considered the ad did not contain anything which pointed to an exploitative or degrading scenario or tone.

“While we acknowledged that some might find the ad distasteful, we considered, for the above reasons, the ad did not objectify the female character and we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”