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Exclusive: Bonza edges to launch as second 737 flies in

written by Adam Thorn | October 27, 2022

Bonza’s first 737 MAX, VH-UJT, arrives in Australia

Bonza’s second 737 is en route to Australia from Calgary in a new sign the airline believes it’s close to achieving clearance from CASA to launch.

Australian Aviation can also reveal its first 737, VH-UJT, has also been quietly flying up and down the east coast this week.

The airline was hoping to launch last month but is unable to do so until it receives its crucial Air Operators Certificate.

However, today’s news that its second 737, VH-UIK, is travelling to Australia, via Honolulu, suggests Bonza believes a breakthrough could be imminent.

It follows the airline earlier this month starting an online portal to allow travel agents to register to work with the company.


When Bonza does begin commercial operations, it will fly so-called ‘point-to-point’ leisure routes not serviced by the capital city-focused Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, and Rex.

Bonza said 93 per cent of its network — 25 out of its 27 routes — are not currently flown by any other airline, while 96 per cent are not served by any other low-cost carrier. Flights are expected to cost around $50 for each hour of the flight.

Destinations on Bonza’s initial route map include Melbourne, Avalon, Sunshine Coast, Mildura, Albury, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Mackay, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Tamworth, Townsville, Whitsunday Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, and Toowoomba.

Australian Aviation has been charting Bonza’s progress with a series of exclusive stories.

Last month, we published exclusive photos that showed two more of its 737 MAXs were being painted in its purple livery at the Victorville desert ‘boneyard’.

Eagle-eyed photographer Nic Hope captured the image, below, from the storage facility, which included a two-year-old narrow-body registered as SP-LVN.

The aircraft appeared to be originally operated by LOT Polish Airlines, which also ran Bonza’s first 737. It’s aiming for an initial fleet of eight aircraft. 

It came days after Australian Aviation also revealed how Bonza had quietly registered the second MAX, VH-UIK, with CASA.

Bonza’s launch is waiting on it obtaining the Air Operators Certificate, and the airline in May hired Virgin Australia’s former GM of operations planning to lead the negotiations.

The business said Young’s remit would also include flight and cabin crew, engineering, ground services, and on-time performance.

He’ll also be helping lead the recruitment of 200 cabin crew and pilots.

The appointment of a big hitter will be seen as a coup, given his six years in a similar position at Virgin and Tiger.

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Comment (1)

  • Craig


    Hey, Bonza! Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

    You’ve still NOT got an AOC……yet.

    So until that actually happens, don’t pop the champers’ corks……

    BTW, there’re reasons’ why 93% of your proposed routes’ aren’t being flown by any other airline……

    Stop, think, & let that sink in for a few minutes’……

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