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Bonza saw 2k job applications in 4 days

written by Hannah Dowling | December 24, 2021

More than 2,000 people raised their interest in joining the ranks of startup budget airline Bonza within days of its public unveiling, after the pandemic displaced thousands of skilled workers.

Current estimates suggest over 11,000 aviation professionals lost their jobs across Qantas and Virgin alone since March 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic on the sector.

Speaking exclusively with Australian Aviation, Bonza founder Tim Jordan said the Bonza website had been inundated with EOIs and applications for roles at the airline in the days after the airline was unveiled.

“We made the announcement on Tuesday, and by the end of the week, so within four days, we were above 2,000 applications for roles at Bonza,” Jordan said.

Read the whole interview with Tim Jordan in the latest edition of the Australian Aviation print magazine, out now. To find out more and subscribe, click here.

Jordan said the overwhelming application numbers were driven by the thousands of displaced aviation workers that were let go or stood down without pay throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Now there are some wonderful and experienced aviation professionals available out there who are looking to get themselves back into the industry,” he said.

Jordan said that if Bonza had launched two years ago or more, securing experienced aviation workers would have been considered more of a “hurdle” for the startup, “whereas now it’s an opportunity for us”.

The airline has also been able to successfully secure brand new leased 737 MAX aircraft for a discount, in another major win for the startup.

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“So now we have brand new aircraft, we have an investment partner who is experienced in aviation [and] the teams that we will have on board are highly skilled aviation professionals, which is truly wonderful for any startup.”

“This all allows us to have a great product going into the market and a much better product than we probably would have been envisaged two years ago,” he added.

It comes as Bonza 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. 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”.

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.

To find out more and subscribe to the Australian Aviation print magazine, click here.

Comments (3)

  • Ashley

    says:

    Sounds too good to be true, on paper.

    Let’s see if Bonza can not only ‘start up’, but keep going forward more than two years’, at a minimum.

  • Meepa

    says:

    Flying to random non-large-city locations with a 737-Max …. why!!??? Not to make it an Airbus thing, but the higher engines would reduce FOD and the aircraft has a safer reputation, especially given the past couple years.

    • Peter Ireland

      says:

      The issue of FOD is quite complex, and the engine height has some bearing on the matter, but is able to be mitigated with some fairly simple care.

      The study by McCreary gives a good overview, including the point that the ramp is the primary area where damage may be encountered. Around a ramp, care in FOD control makes a difference, as does the care that the crew take with breakaway power application. Taxi in to a ramp is usually at lower weights, and if the aircraft is continued in motion the suction is low.

      On a taxiway, there is a moderate amount of debris, which is within the airports responsibility to control. Again, any time the crew have to stop and apply power to move is a point where FOD is more likely to be picked up.

      On the runway, the point where power is applied to get to stable thrust, and then to takeoff thrust can result in needing clean surfaces.

      The size of particle that can be lifted is dependent on the height of the intake, but more by the suction that is applied to the fan face that then affects the ground vortex intensity at the lower lip of the intake.

      There are reasons why other aircraft than the Max might have been a good choice, probably the ability to take underfloor cargo in an A320 would be up there, but it is dependent on the economic model that the planning people put together. The Max is in the end an acceptable aircraft, FOD damage is not a large factor in the aircraft operation, cargo carriage may not be a big part of the plan, and there probably is a residual discount on aircraft cost of acquisition for the Max following the MCAS saga.

      Bonza will win or loose on factors unrelated to their engine height off the ground and FOD.

      References
      D.G. MacManus, “Intake ground vortex and computational modelling of foreign object ingestion”, The Aeronautical Journal September 2015 Volume 119 No 1219 1123
      https://www.aerosociety.com/media/3542/4277.pdf

      Murphy, J., MacManus, D. G., Sheaf, C. Experimental investigation of intake ground vortices during takeoff. AIAA J., 2010, 48(3), 688–701.

      Rodert, L. A., Garrett, F. B. Ingestion of foreign objects into turbine engines by vortices, Technical report no. NACA TN 3330, 1955, (Washington, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
      https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930084118

      Brix, S., Neuwerth, G. and Jacob, D. The inlet-vortex system of jet engines operating near the ground,
      August 2000, AIAA Paper 2000-3998.

      McCreary, I. The Economic Cost of FOD to Airlines, 2008, Insight SRI.
      https://fod-detection.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/the-economic-cost-of-fod.PDF

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