The founder of new Australian budget airline Bonza has told the Australian Aviation Podcast the business got a “phenomenal” deal on the 737 MAXs it will launch with.
“How many low-cost carriers enter the market as a startup with brand new aircraft normally?” said Tim Jordan, who also hailed its “fantastic” green credentials.
Bonza broke cover earlier this month to reveal a plan to fly “point-to-point” leisure routes not serviced by Qantas, Virgin and Rex with a fleet of two to three new 737 MAXs in 2022.
The move will see Bonza become the first Australian airline to welcome the 737 MAX for regular domestic operations, after the aircraft was grounded globally for nearly two years following two fatal crashes overseas.
Despite the aircraft’s detractors, its supporters, including Jordan, point to it being far more fuel-efficient than current narrowbodies operating in Australia.
“We believe that the MAX, and its entrance to Australia is an absolute plus for us as we launch next year,” said Jordan in an interview you can listen to at the top of this page.
“At this minute, there’s hundreds of MAX aircraft flying around the world. And in fact, before too long, obviously, Fiji, and also Singapore will be bringing it here. We just see it as a fantastic aircraft to deliver the low-cost product that we need.
“In terms of us and timing to the market, 777 Partners [its investors] have been able to acquire these aircraft, a good number of them, at prices that are just phenomenal. And that is almost unique.”
On the show, Jordan also revealed that 30 airports have already “responded positively” to a request by Bonza to launch routes.
“On the morning we made the announcement, we actually sent out request for interest to about 45 different airports across the country, saying, ‘Would you like to be our airport partners? If you’d like new routes, probably not offered currently by existing airlines, put your hand up and let us know how you can incentivise us to do that, and we will bring you many more customers.’
“And I have to say, we’ve been very positively received by those airport partners.”
The business only announced its launch weeks ago and said then fares will be up to 40 per cent lower than its competitors.
Unlike rivals Virgin, Qantas, Jetstar and Rex, the new airline will focus on routes not currently served by existing operators and would be limited to a handful of services each week.
Co-founder Rick Howell was previously Virgin Blue’s general manager of flight operations, while Jordan was its chief commercial officer, who subsequently became the architect of Kazakhstan airline FlyArystan.
Earlier on Tuesday, Bonza released new details on its executive team, with another ex-Virgin Blue senior manager joining the ranks.
Peter McNally, a former senior operational manager for Virgin Blue and former Swissport vice-president of airports and commercial, has been welcomed to the team as Bonza’s chief operating officer.
McNally was also previously COO of Airnorth in Darwin, chief advisor for operations for Indian LCC IndiGo, and earlier, vice-president for network operations at Qatar Airways.
Bonza also announced the appointment of former Jetstar executive Carly Povey as its chief commercial officer.
Povey joins from her current role as general manager for engagement and liaison at Australia Post. She has over 15 years’ experience in aviation, including previous roles at Tigerair, easyJet, Jet2 and Leeds Bradford Airport.
Povey will head up Bonza’s brand, marketing, communications and customer channels, as well as being responsible for network and scheduling, product and pricing.
Lidia Valenzuela also joins the Bonza c-suite team as chief financial officer and is noted as a co-founder and executive director.
Valenzuela has over two decades’ experience in accounting and senior finance roles and joins from her current role as group chief financial officer at Superloop.