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Bonza welcomes another former Virgin Blue exec to leadership team

written by Hannah Dowling | October 26, 2021

Proposed budget airline Bonza with its ‘thumbs up’ livery.

New Australian budget airline Bonza has released new details on its executive team, with another ex-Virgin Blue senior manager joining the ranks.

Bonza was revealed to the world two weeks ago, headed up by CEO Tim Jordan and chairman Rick Howell, both former executives at Virgin Blue. The new airline is backed by US investment firm 777 Partners.

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.

CEO Tim Jordan said the new members were “wholeheartedly committed to making a real difference to travellers and communities in Australia”.

“Peter, Carly and Lidia are up for the challenge to do things differently, while also creating an environment our people and partners can feel proud to call home. I’m delighted to have them on board,” he said.

Bonza is currently eyeing to enter service in early 2022, with an initial fleet of two to three 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

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.

However, Jordan told Australian Aviation that Bonza couldn’t be happier with its decision to initially lease two to three Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with the airline founder stating “the configuration, the efficiency and the availability of the MAX” make the aircraft an “absolute bonus” for the upcoming airline.

According to Jordan, most startup airlines often begin operating with a fleet of mismatched, older second-hand aircraft, however the current operating environment allowed Bonza to secure brand new 737 MAX 8s for a great price.

“We were initially setting out a business plan, and the lease costs involved to sustain our operations, we thought that we would be leasing used aircraft, maybe five to 10 years old,” Jordan explained.

“So, what we’ve ended up with is a far improved outcome.”

Jordan added that thanks to the ultra fuel-efficient 737 MAX, the company’s forecast fuel burn is set to be “significantly lower” than anticipated, and clinching a good deal means the airline can boast a consistent fleet right from the get-go.

“We’re going to the market with brand new aircraft, aircraft which are all configured the same way,” Jordan said.

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Comments (2)

  • Warwick


    Hope they’ve got squllions’ $ behind them, as that’s what they’ll need to be a ‘start up’ airline.

    Even then, as has happened in the past many times, there’s failure.
    The one thing against them is using 737Max jets, as the numbers’ of naysayers’ not wishing to fly on it is huge.

    No matter how many persons’ say it’s ‘ok’, there’s that little doubt at the back of peoples’ minds about its’ safety.
    Then again, maybe hip pockets will override that.

    Time’ll tell……

  • Michael


    I too hope they have squillions of $ behind them, along with an endless amount of tenacity. Having invested many years of my life helping build Virgin Blue in its formative years, I have some concept of what these guys are about to embark on. I wish them the very best of luck with this incredibly draining and risky business venture.

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