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Bonza bolsters leadership team ahead of planned launch

written by Hannah Dowling | November 30, 2021

Bonza plane
Bonza’s purple ‘thumbs up’ livery.

Bonza has announced a number of new hires in its senior leadership team, and perhaps provided a clue as to where it plans to base operations moving forward.

The upcoming budget carrier has announced the people who will head up its major departments including head of people and culture, head of flying operations, head of airport operations, head of engineering and maintenance and head of finance.

Many of the Bonza new hires boast an extensive career in aviation both at home and abroad.

It comes ahead of Bonza’s planned launch in early 2022 and follows an extensive EOI process with 45 key airports around the country. Bonza is expected to announce the results of said process in the coming weeks, with the details of its planned initial network.

First up is the appointment of Carla Cations as Bonza’s head of people and culture. The airline said Cations will focus on delivering the best experience for its people and joins the team from her current position as people experience manager at Moreton Bay Council.

Earlier in her career, Cations spent over four years as a cabin crew and airport operations recruitment manager at Virgin Australia and started her career as a travel consultant.

Bonza has also appointed Neville Hodges as its head of flying operations. Hodges’ role encompasses safety, flight crew, relationships with regulators and team leadership.


Hodges’ joins from his current role as chief training captain for cargo carrier Air Hong Kong, after previously holding pilot and training and examination roles with Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Ansett.

Melissa Wilson has been appointed as Bonza’s head of airport operations and joins the team from her current role as ground handling general manager for Swissport. Wilson previously spent over 13 years working for Air New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Mark Davies has been named as the airline’s head of engineering and maintenance. Davies joins from Coulson Aviation Australia where he was head of airworthiness and aircraft maintenance control.

Throughout his career, Davies has also served in engineering and technical roles at Ansett, Virgin, Jetstar, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Last on the list of the recent appointment is Ellen Pickett as head of finance. Pickett’s focus at Bonza will be on cost control in order to provide savings for customers without compromising on the experience, Bonza said.

Pickett joins the team from Superloop where she was head of business finance partnering. It appears Pickett could have previously worked under Lidia Valenzuela, Bonza’s chief financial officer, who also joined the team from Superloop earlier this year.

“As we get closer to taking flight in 2022, we’re thrilled to be adding several key members of the Bonza team,” said Tim Jordan, CEO of Bonza.

“We welcome each of them to our team of Bonza legends. They are all experts in their field with best-in-class experience, the right culture fit and a shared focus to create new travel opportunities for ‘Allstralia’.

“We look forward to further growing the team of Bonza legends in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Last month, Bonza announced the appointment of three major C-suite executives, including Valenzuela as CFO, Peter McNally as chief operating officer and Carly Povey as its chief commercial officer.

While the new budget airline is yet to formally announce where it plans to base its operations, it now appears that half of Bonza’s senior leadership team is currently based in Brisbane, Queensland.

The airline has previously suggested that it will choose its base after securing its network, however, has said that it will likely place Bonza HQ at a regional base in NSW or Queensland.

Comment (1)

  • Rod Pickin


    I don’t support the enterprise’s entry at this stage, it’s viability is highly questionable but I hope they will be happy at WTB

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