Bonza has revealed its third 737 MAX will be called Sheila after the name won a public vote.
It comes after Australian Aviation exclusively revealed how the airline had quietly registered its latest aircraft, VH-UBI, as it edges towards launch.
The business was hoping to begin operations last month but is unable to do so until it receives the crucial Air Operators Certificate.
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.
Bonza’s chief commercial officer, Carly Povey, said Sheila beat out competition from Robbo, Kimmy and Bruce.
“We can reveal it was a tight race between our shortlist of true blue names for our third aircraft which will be next to arrive at Bonza’s backyard on the Sunshine Coast,” said Povey.
“Our team of legends are looking forward to welcoming Sheila to Aussie shores, where Shazza and Bazza are waiting for her.
“Asking Aussie travellers to help name our planes has been so much fun. We’ve seeked out their input for the names of our fleet and our onboard menu, which we are getting close to revealing.”
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.
The formal acquisition of a new aircraft, VH-UBI, came 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.
In September, we published exclusive photos that showed two more of its 737 MAXs were being painted in its purple livery at the Victorville desert ‘boneyard’.
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.