Low-cost carrier Bonza has made its NSW debut, with the inaugural flight from the Sunshine Coast landing in Newcastle yesterday.
Flight AB609 from the Sunshine Coast touched down yesterday at 2:55pm, with the inaugural Newcastle flight using Bonza’s Boeing 737 MAX VH-UIK, nicknamed ‘Bazza’. The Sunshine Coast to Newcastle route is Bonza’s eighth overall and its first foray into NSW and is estimated to add 86,000 seats per year between the two cities.
“Sunshine Coast and Newcastle are both very popular destinations for travellers. The Sunshine Coast because of our stunning beaches and hinterland and Newcastle because it is the doorway to the picturesque Hunter Valley and the home of over 150 incredible wineries,” Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie said.
“Importantly, the introduction of this route has cut out the middle man. No longer will travellers have to go via Sydney to get to their destination and as a result people are telling me and my team they are likely to travel more often, which is great for both regions.”
Bonza CEO Tim Jordan said that customer feedback has so far been “really positive” two months into the airline’s operation.
“Our customers say they love our brand-new aircraft and the service from our cabin crew legends. Perhaps the most popular part of the experience is our all-Aussie menu ordered through the Fly Bonza app and delivered directly to the customer’s seat,” he said.
Bonza’s entry into NSW comes as the carrier marks 100,000 bookings through its Fly Bonza app – enough to fill more than 500 flights.
The airline – which specialises in point-to-point flights connecting destinations directly without the need to connect through major hubs – is planning at least six additional NSW routes in coming months: Melbourne to Tamworth, Newcastle to Whitsunday Coast, Melbourne to Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast to Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast to Albury, and Sunshine Coast to Coffs Harbour.
Last week, Australian Aviation reported how Rex’s deputy chairman, John Sharp, quipped he “can’t imagine” why anyone would fly Bonza’s upcoming route between Coffs Harbour and the Sunshine Coast.
Speaking to BOSS magazine, Sharp hinted the two holiday destinations are too similar to make business sense.
“Coffs Harbour is a great place [with a] great hinterland, nice beaches, lovely climate,” he said. “Maroochydore [in the Sunshine Coast] has nice beaches and a nice climate.
“Coffs Harbour is in NSW, and people have their business and professional connections in Sydney. There is a small market from Coffs Harbour to Brisbane, but I can’t imagine anyone wants to go from Coffs Harbour to Maroochydore.”
You can listen to our exclusive podcast interview with CEO Tim Jordan above, and premium content subscribers can read our exclusive look inside the launch of the airline here.
Route / launch date / flights per week
Melbourne to Bundaberg – 10 May – 2
Melbourne to Gladstone – 11 May – 2
Melbourne to Mackay – 23 May – 2
Melbourne to Mildura – 8 May – 3
Melbourne to Port Macquarie – 4 May – 2
Melbourne to Rockhampton – 11 April – 3
Melbourne to Sunshine Coast – 30 March – 4
Melbourne to Tamworth – 2 May – 2
Melbourne to Toowoomba Wellcamp – 17 April – 4
Toowoomba Wellcamp to Townsville – 19 April – 2
Toowoomba Wellcamp to Whitsunday Coast – 21 April – 2
Tamworth to Sunshine Coast – 6 May – 2
Sunshine Coast to Albury – 7 April – 2
Sunshine Coast to Avalon – 21 February – 3
Sunshine Coast to Cairns – 27 March – 5
Sunshine Coast to Coffs Harbour – 20 April – 2
Sunshine Coast to Mackay – 14 February – 3
Sunshine Coast to Mildura – 4 April – 2
Sunshine Coast to Newcastle – 28 March – 4
Sunshine Coast to Port Macquarie – 12 April – 2
Sunshine Coast to Rockhampton – 13 March – 3
Sunshine Coast to Townsville – 22 February – 4
Sunshine Coast to Whitsunday Coast – 31 January – 3
Cairns to Mackay – 29 March – 2
Cairns to Rockhampton – 31 March – 2
Newcastle to Whitsunday Coast – 30 March – 2
Rockhampton to Townsville – 24 February – 3