australian aviation logo

Breaking: Bonza set to launch after gaining clearance from CASA

written by Adam Thorn | January 12, 2023

Bonza is set to launch imminently after finally being granted its crucial licence to fly from CASA.

The airline was hoping to start flying in September but was unable to do so until it received the crucial Air Operators Certificate, which it now has.

“This is a historic moment for Australian aviation as we get ready to launch the first high-capacity airline in more than 15 years, and the country’s only independent low-cost carrier,” said Tim Jordan, CEO of Bonza.

“The excitement for what we are about to deliver is palpable and the timing couldn’t be better. Demand for domestic travel is high, and Aussies deserve for travel to be a basic right for many, not a luxury for the few. This has never been truer with today’s cost of living challenges.


“With the approval from CASA, 2023 is set to be the year of seeing more of your own backyard for less.”

Bonza said tickets would soon go on sale from its Sunshine Coast base, followed by its Melbourne base.

CASA CEO Pip Spence said on Thursday Bonza went through a “rigorous assessment and validation process” to ensure it could operate safely.

“This is a significant milestone and we congratulate Bonza on achieving its air operator’s certificate,” Spence said.

“The CASA and Bonza teams worked collaboratively throughout the application to ensure the airline’s operations met Australia’s high aviation safety standards.

“I would especially like to acknowledge Bonza’s willingness to work with us on this complex process.

“All commercial operators in Australia have to go through this process, which considers how the operator will meet the required safety standards.

“Our assessment includes a thorough examination of technical documentation as well as verification and testing.

“The process examines whether the airline has the facilities, processes and appropriately trained personnel to comply with their operations manual.

“It involves conducting assessments of the carrier’s proposed operations, facilities, aircraft and the aerodromes to which they operate to ensure that they meet our safety requirements.

“Australia has one of the safest aviation industries in the world, and travellers should be assured when they get on a Bonza aircraft that the operator has been assessed in detail to ensure it complies with the same safety requirements as other Australian airlines.”

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

Nonetheless, its current fleet of three is 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.

Its first aircraft, VH-UJT, was named Shazza; its second, VH-UIKBazza; and its third, VH-UJK, Sheila.

Bonza has also quietly registered a fourth 737 MAX with CASA, VH-UJZ, likely to be based in Melbourne next year.

A ‘fifth’ aircraft, VH-UBI, has now been removed from the register but is now thought to be in Tucson in Arizona.

In May, Bonza hired Virgin Australia’s former GM of operations planning to lead the negotiations with CASA.

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.

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.

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.