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Exclusive: Bonza CEO says using 737 MAX will keep prices low

written by Adam Thorn | January 16, 2023

Bonza CEO Tim Jordan has said his airline will be able to keep costs down compared to its rival because it will operate a fleet of 737 MAXs.

Speaking on the Australian Aviation Podcast, set to be released later this week, Jordan reiterated that he expects prices to be “pretty close” to the estimates given when the business broke cover at the end of 2021.

It comes despite fares hitting record highs due to a combination of high fuel prices and the industry holding resources in reserve to mitigate delays caused by staff shortages. Bonza had previously promised fares could be as low as $50.

“We will be pretty close to the headline numbers that we put out there,” Jordan told host Adam Thorn. “We do have the most fuel-efficient and youngest fleet in Australian skies so there are absolutely benefits for us coming to the market with brand new aircraft.


“There is certainly cost of living pressures everywhere, and while that may have some impact in terms of the pricing, it’s certainly not going to be overly material.

“There is a silver lining to our business model in that filling up your car costs you a small fortune, which probably leads more customers towards flying.”

Jordan’s appearance comes after the airline received its crucial licence to fly from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on Thursday, ending a six-month wait from its original target to start operations in the middle of last year.

CASA CEO Pip Spence said last week that Bonza went through a “rigorous assessment and validation process” to gain its Air Operators Certificate.

“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.

Australian Aviation also revealed on Friday how Bonza is set to begin its first commercial route between the Sunshine Coast and the Whitsunday Islands by the end of January.

Premium Content subscribers can read our exclusive look inside the launch of the airline here.

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