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Bonza says 30 airports have shown interest ahead of launch

written by Adam Thorn | October 26, 2021


The founder of new Australian budget airline Bonza has told the Australian Aviation Podcast that 30 airports have already “responded positively” to a request to launch routes.

Tim Jordan also doubled down on criticism against the airline for not having a confirmed network in place ahead of its launch next year, arguing its financial backer, 777 Partners, is here for the long term.

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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.

Speaking on the Australian Aviation Podcast, which you can listen to above, Jordan said, “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. I think the last time I looked, more than 30 airports had responded positively already.

“And we are still three weeks away from the timeline for them to respond. So, there’s been very eager response from many airports across the country.”

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Jordan also emphasised that the airline’s very low-cost base and use of fuel-efficient aircraft such as the 737 MAX meant it would be able to drive costs “incredibly low”, while also having significant investment.

“777 partners, are a private investment firm based in Miami,” said Jordan. “They have about 50 different portfolio companies and we are obviously now one of them. They have a significant share of Canada’s only independent low-cost operator, Flair Airlines, and are familiar with this industry sector.

“In terms of assets under management, the last time I looked, they had assets under management of nearly $6 billion US. So, they’re significant. And most importantly, they’re not getting into this for short term venture. They’re getting in this for the long term.”

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.

9 Comments

  • Terrence

    says:

    If they’re going to fly routes NOT serviced by other airlines’ currently, how can they say their fares will be 40% cheaper on those routes?

    Cheaper compared to what?

    Makes no sense.

  • AgentGerko

    says:

    I am strapped to come up with routes that can support a 737 operation, given that most regional airports will not accept a 737. There are already routes like Sydney – Coffs where VA has to use a 737 because they have nothing smaller but the routes profitability would be marginal at best. I really can’t see 737s ever seeing regular service into places like Armidale and Wagga so assume the routes will probably serve east coast cities like Port Macquarie, Mackay, Gladstone, etc. It will be fascinating to see what they come up with so long as we don’t end up with another Air Australia.

  • Come on up Bonza, slim pickings but your very welcome.

  • chris

    says:

    I bet Mildura will be one of those airports….

  • Brendan

    says:

    How can Bonza say their going to have airfares 40 percent lower than competitors when their routes don’t have airlines flying them currently.

  • Richard

    says:

    How can you service 30 Airports with just 3 Aircraft. Sorry but I think I’ll keep my money backing the the established airlines with their proven service and partners.

  • Neil

    says:

    I am finding it hard to come with Regional destinations suitable for Boeing 737 Max operations within our country. Wonder if Avalon will get a second Domestic Airline operating out of it’s Airport? Mildura maybe, as Virgin had flights there. Uluru NT, Margaret River in WA, if the Border would only lift! Only trouble with Uluru/Ayers Rock, are already served by Both Qantas & JetStar but on irregular flights.

  • Steve

    says:

    Other Airports like Tamworth, Wagga, Broken Hill, Toowomba , Longreach etc are all 737 capable. The only other ones would be airports belonging to mining operations using them on a FIFO basis . Wonder if Bonza will head in that direction as well.

  • Benjamin

    says:

    IF they actually ‘start up’, they’ll probably be gone within a year, if that.

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