Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith revealed the news today, following speculation that HOP! could vanish altogether.
Air France has revealed today that the commercial branding on routes operated by its HOP! brand will now be marketed under the name Air France HOP.
The decision comes after speculation yesterday that the ‘commuter subsidiary’ Hop could disappear altogether, meeting a similar fate as the trendy subsidiary Joon.
France’s La Tribune reported that Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith was unhappy with Hop! “because it is confusing for Air France’s long-haul passengers, a problem similar to Joon”.
Hop! was launched six years ago to act as a feeder carrier for Air France’s hubs at Paris CDG and Paris Orly and to operate domestic routes bypassing Paris.
However, “six years after its launch Hop is a bitter failure. Although around 100 planes operated at the time [it started], only about 50 remain. This fleet requires the employment of 800 pilots which is huge,” La Tribune wrote.
But the move announced today makes it possible to link the French flag carrier’s regional products more clearly with the Air France brand, making it the sole point of reference for customers.
The ongoing simplification of the Air France-KLM brand portfolio will “provide greater clarity for customers and more consistency with the group’s global commercial offer,” the airline group says.
The Air France-KLM group relies on two strong brands, Air France and KLM, the group adds, which both have regional variations with Air France HOP and KLM Cityhopper, also offering low-cost services with the Transavia brand which is present in both France and the Netherlands.
“Part of our DNA”
“This is the next step towards consolidating the strength of our brands and increasing the clarity and overall consistency of the Air France-KLM Group’s offer,” explains Smith about the decision.
“The domestic network, including the regional market currently operated by HOP! is fundamental to the Air France business model, securing its regional foothold, and is an integral part of its history and DNA.
“In the face of competition in this market, we must make our offer clearer and link it more closely to the values and strengths of the Air France brand.
“I would like to praise the commitment and professionalism of all staff at HOP! I am confident that together we will succeed in making Air France HOP the reference brand for our customers when they travel on our regional network.”
The group stresses that the rebrand is “in line with the simplification strategy currently being implemented within Air France’s short-haul sector, including regional aircraft operations, which aims to regain customers’ trust and restore a sustainable economic balance”.
The change of brand will have no effect on the work contracts of HOP! staff, the group assures, and all flights sold by HOP! or currently on sale will continue to operate normally with no impact on customers.