Article Produced by James Field & Daniel Sander

LONDON – It’s not been long since Air France announced it was to retire its short-lived JOON brand. The AF-KLM Group’s new CEO, Benjamin Smith, could also phase out the group’s regional HOP! brand as part of restructuring within the group.

The new CEO has slammed the regional brand internally, within a slide that has been presented to HOP!’s work council.

The board of directors did not mention HOP, instead “Air France XXX”. This could be a hint the airline will disappear in the future and turned into something else.

After a commercial year for the group in 2018, the new CEO is undertaking bold restructuring plans, so far announcing that the group will half it’s A380 superjumbo fleet and will phase out the JOON brand, which was launched in 2017.

This internal slide has certainly created a lot of uncertainty for the commercial and viability of HOP!’s future operations. Company senior executives have declined to comment on the matter.

HOP! launched in March 2013 with its hubs of Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport and Paris-Orly Airport.

The SkyTeam Affiliate airline as of January 2019 via has 76 aircraft in the fleet, ranging from ATR42/72s, Bombardier CRJs to Embraer ERJs alike.

The carrier also operates to around 50 destinations as well as its codesharing agreements with Air Corsica, Air France, and Alitalia.

Back in October 2018, reports came out that the subsidiary will face restructuring, including the merger of all operations under the AF flight codes of Air France.

It would also mean that certain aircraft types could have been phased out in the process during this restructuring.

For sure, it will be interesting to see whether HOP! will continue to survive not just in the short-term, but also in the long-term.

However, long-term viability seems unlikely given the significant restructuring ongoing within the Air France side.

The removal of Joon will mean that no doubt HOP! will also feel some restructuring damage going down the line and into the end of this year.