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Bonza to hugely expand its 737 fleet to match Rex

written by Hannah Dowling | December 7, 2021

Budget startup carrier Bonza has announced a major expansion of its 737 MAX 8 fleet that will see it increase its aircraft from just two to eight within the first year.

The move significantly means it will match the size of Rex’s proposed 737 fleet, except its aircraft will be Boeing’s newer, more fuel-efficient MAX compared to Rex’s older -800 variant.

Bonza broke cover in October to reveal a plan to fly “point to point” leisure routes not serviced by Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Rex.

“This is another way in which we are focused on creating new market growth opportunities for regional Australian destinations, better connecting all of Australia, and in turn, stimulating direct and indirect job opportunities for the aviation and tourism industry,” said Bonza CEO Tim Jordan.

All eight MAX aircraft will be leased from Bonza’s primary US-based investor 777 Partners. Rival Rex currently has six 737s, with two more on order, though it is now predominantly concentrating on capital city, rather than leisure, routes.

It comes as Bonza continues its discussions and negotiations with Australian airports. The airline is expected to make an announcement in the coming weeks, solidifying its planned initial routes and aircraft bases.

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Speaking exclusively with Australian Aviation, Jordan said that feedback from the 46 airports that Bonza has reached out to since October has been “very positive”.

“So we realised that the scale of the opportunity is very significant, and based on that, it gives us the confidence to make the announcement that we’re making today in terms of our growth plans, and our intention to grow up to eight aircraft in the first year.”

When asked how he can be so sure that Bonza will succeed in Australia, to the point of requiring four times more aircraft than initially planned, despite never having tested the model in the local market, Jordan said: “The rest of the world gives us that confidence.”

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“We’re not trying to do anything particularly smart and clever, or unique. We’re actually just trying to replicate [a model that] has already been successfully executed elsewhere in the world.

“So that gives us that confidence.”

Without giving too much away, Jordan said the first aircraft deliveries are to be expected in early 2022 in support of Bonza’s ongoing process to secure an Air Operator Certificate, before the airline’s planned launch in the second quarter.

As would-be rival Virgin Australia continues to await its long-delayed 737 MAX deliveries, Bonza is slated to become the first carrier to embrace the 737 MAX for domestic operations after the aircraft was grounded globally for nearly two years following two fatal crashes overseas.

Speaking on the Australian Aviation Podcast in October, Jordan revealed that Bonza got a “phenomenal” deal on its 737 MAX jets, and hailed the aircraft’s “fantastic” green credentials.

Earlier, he shared with us that Bonza is “not concerned” about the Australian market being hesitant to the 737 MAX, and instead sees the jet as now one of the safest on the market.

“Just about every major regulator in the world has now given approval for the MAX to return to operations,” Jordan said.

“So, it’s really not something we’re concerned about,” he said.

In fact, Jordan claimed that Bonza couldn’t be happier with its decision to initially lease two to three Boeing 737 MAX 8 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.

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

Comments (10)

  • Warwick

    says:

    What a load of gobbledegook this Jordan bloke’s said in above article.
    Weasel words to the nth degree.

    So he says his airline is going to match Rex’s jet numbers. So that means 10 of ‘em by end of 2022.

    Just waiting to read what routes it intends to fly, & airport runways long enough to take B737MAX.
    Then we wait upon an ACTUAL launch date, sometime in the next year.

  • Barry

    says:

    Warwick aka John Sharp. lol

  • Paul

    says:

    Maybe he should be given the chance to prove himself first before we comment!

  • Pete Gardiner

    says:

    What parallel universe are these guys living in ?

  • Mark

    says:

    Which overseas airline is he talking about ? Except Wizz & Jetblue all the successful carriers used second hand aircraft on start up, as it adds flexibility as you don’t need to sweat the assets so hard (and in the case of Wizz , Malev’s bankruptcy meant they were entering an underserved market (& I can’t see VA , JQ , QF & Rex all leaving one of the major (or minor for that matter) any time soon).

  • Evan

    says:

    …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.” Fair enough, but I wonder if this ‘configuration’ is going to mean a perpetuation of the contemporary LCA model of cramming seats in so that COVID-affected seniors such as me can scarcely fit within the seat pitch allowance. I expect so, and I expect I’ll leave them to it. “Bonza” indeed… do me a favour!

  • Mark

    says:

    Bonza are doing a lot of talking but seem very lite on detail.

  • Dave

    says:

    The interesting aspect yet to be disclosed by the CEO is how many of the ‘46 airports’ are compliant with CASA rules for B737 operations in terms of fire services, security checking apart from runway considerations. If they are non compliant, which authority will be footing the bill so Bonza can meet its service promises? I would imagine few local councils have the funds required to meet standards required by CASA for B737 operations.

  • BONZA…! might as well stand on top of a high hill and tear up $100 notes, as quickly as you can.
    Maybe its just a stunt to annoy Joyce, Sharp and Hrdlicka !

    Even the very name is ridiculous.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Rex’s Sharp is possibly getting a tad nervous about another airline in the mix, especially as that newcomer has updated Boeing’s, rather than Rex’s tired, older model ex-Virgin second-hand ones’.

    The next twelve months’ should prove interesting in the skies above.

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