australian aviation logo

Exclusive: Bonza registers third 737 MAX in new launch sign

written by Adam Thorn | October 29, 2022

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

Bonza has quietly registered a third 737 MAX with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in yet another sign the airline believes it’s close to achieving clearance from the safety regulator to launch.

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

The formal acquisition of a new aircraft, VH-UBI, comes days after Australian Aviation revealed its second, VH-UIK, was en route to Australia and its first, VH-UJT, is flying up and down the east coast.

Bonza initially planned to launch with a fleet of two to three MAXs before increasing its ambitions to target having eight.

Nonetheless, a fleet of three would be enough for it to begin operating some of its planned 27 routes in a staggered start.


When Bonza does begin commercial operations, it will fly so-called ‘point-to-point’ leisure services 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.

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.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.