Bonza is continuing to prove its unique business model of cutting out capital cities can work after revealing it has now sold 100,000 seats through its app.
The figure, accumulated in just two months, is enough to fill more than 500 flights on Bonza’s 737 MAX aircraft. It comes just a week after Rex’s deputy chairman, John Sharp, became the latest industry name to doubt its unusual network.
Bonza is the first Australian operator to attempt to fly so-called “point-to-point” leisure services that skip out major cities and allow consumers to fly direct from holiday destination to holiday destination.
The business has said 93 per cent of its final 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.
The airline marked the occasion with its first flight between its Sunshine Coast base and Cairns today. Its 737 MAX, VH-UJK, nicknamed “Sheila”, departed the southern Queensland airport at 7:31am as flight AB583 and touched down at 9:16am.
“Last week, we sold our 100,000th seat on the Fly Bonza app. This week, we begin taking customers to Cairns, Newcastle and Melbourne as well as launch new routes into Whitsunday Coast, Mackay and Rockhampton,” said Tim Jordan, CEO of Bonza.
According to Cairns Airport CEO Richard Barker, the new Sunshine Coast route – which will operate five times per week – is expected to add thousands of seats to the Cairns market every week once the schedule ramps up.
“Linking two of Queensland’s most iconic tourism destinations is a great way for Bonza to launch its Cairns services,” he said.
“We expect to see many travellers take up these direct services when flying between the Sunshine Coast and Tropical North Queensland, whether for a holiday or catching up with friends and relatives. These flights are a win for both consumers and industries, who will benefit from the increase of visitors.”
Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie added that the route would make it easier for tourists and locals to fly between the Sunshine Coast and Cairns without having to connect through Brisbane.
“For locals, it means they don’t have to go south to fly north, and for visitors to the region, who want to explore further north, they can now do so easily and affordably.
“This new route is a game changer, in terms of the ease in which travel can be facilitated through the Sunshine Coast Airport, and it will have a positive impact on the economy of both regions, which are highly sought-after destinations,” he said.
Bonza is set to launch its first route into New South Wales tomorrow when flight AB609 is expected to touch down in Newcastle at 3:05pm.
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