Budget start-up carrier Bonza has begun advertising for over 200 recruits, as it seeks to scoop up professionals that lost or left domestic airline jobs throughout the pandemic.
The airline is currently on the lookout for pilots and cabin crew to man its initial fleet of five 737 MAX jets, after filling many of its higher corporate positions late last year.
Roles are currently on offer at both of Bonza’s aircraft bases, on the Sunshine Coast and in Melbourne.
Bonza is gearing up to begin flying 27 routes to 17 destinations around the country from mid-2022.
“This is the first opportunity to be part of an airline from day one in 14 years and demand is expected to be sky-high,” said Bonza CEO Tim Jordan.
“Recruitment, for largely pilots and cabin crew roles, comes at a time when the aviation industry needs a welcome shot in the arm, domestic tourism demand is building and Bonza is fast-growing followers excited about our mission to give Aussies more choice when it comes to holidays.”
Jordan added: “In aviation, it’s hard not to have witnessed the devastating impact of the pandemic on many talented pilots and cabin crew.
“It’s our hope we can provide roles and development opportunities to some of those impacted. The lifestyle balance of returning home at night to Melbourne or Sunshine Coast will be a huge drawcard.”
Jordan said Bonza has already been “overwhelmed with interest” in people seeking out roles at Bonza, with over 5,000 registrations of interest sent through via its website since October.
Earlier, speaking exclusively with Australian Aviation, Jordan highlighted his interest in hiring highly trained and experienced aviation professionals that had lost their jobs during the pandemic.
He noted the “opportunity” that the COVID pandemic presented to Bonza when it comes to seeking out experienced workers to fill its ranks.
“Now, there are some wonderful and experienced aviation professionals available out there who are looking to get themselves back into the industry,” he said.
According to Jordan, if Bonza had launched two years ago or more, securing experienced aviation workers would have been considered more of a “hurdle” for the start-up, “whereas now, it’s an opportunity for us”.
At this time, estimates suggested that over 11,000 aviation professionals had lost their jobs across Qantas and Virgin alone since March 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic sector.
It comes after Australian Aviation reported that Bonza’s mid-year launch plans have not been heavily impacted by the shock departure of its chief operating officer as previously feared.
Earlier in March, reports surfaced that Bonza’s co-founder and COO Peter McNally had left the start-up airline just five months after being appointed to the C-suite position.
Rumours swelled at that time that McNally’s exit could put Bonza’s mid-year launch plans in jeopardy, by slowing down the start-up’s ability to secure an Air Operator’s Certificate from Australia’s aviation regulator in time.
However, Jordan told Australian Aviation that these rumours have no weight.
“Everything is progressing as planned,” he said.
Despite the shock exit, Jordan appears to hold no ill-will against his former business partner.
“One of Peter’s great legacies is that he put in place a fantastic post-holder team here at Bonza, and the team have continued with the work that they collectively started.
“In terms of the regulatory process, the onus is on us to deliver everything that the regulator requires, and in that regard, progress is continuing as expected.”
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has also confirmed that the departure of an airline’s COO “would not necessarily slow down an application for an AOC” as this “is not considered a key personnel position”.
The aviation regulator said the CEO or chief pilot could fulfil the obligations previously held by the COO under the application, and that this would “simply require them to amend certain documents”.
McNally, a former Virgin Blue alumnus, co-founded the budget airline alongside ex-colleague Tim Jordan in September 2021.
In October, McNally was formally appointed as COO of the upcoming airline, while Jordan and another Virgin Blue alumni Rick Howell were appointed as CEO and chairman, respectively.
The circumstances of McNally’s prompt exit from the airline remains unknown.