Low-cost carrier Bonza is eyeing future growth after officially completing its initial 27-route rollout with its first flight from Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Mackay this week.
Flight AB1031 touched down in Mackay at 6:54pm on Tuesday night on Bonza’s fourth Boeing 737 MAX, VH-UKH, nicknamed ‘Malc’. The launch of the Tullamarine–Mackay route caps off what Bonza says is the biggest route map rollout in Australian aviation history, covering 27 routes to 17 destinations across three states.
Bonza will fly twice per week return between Melbourne – its second base after the Sunshine Coast – and Mackay, with flights every Tuesday and Saturday. The Melbourne service will be Mackay Airport’s only direct interstate route.
“This afternoon’s historic flight to Mackay from our second base in Melbourne marks the finish line for our initial rollout and the start line for Bonza earning the right to grow,” said Carly Povey, chief commercial officer at Bonza, who was on Tuesday’s flight.
“Our focus now is firmly on improving our operations, earning the respect of customers and then, we will continue to add new routes and a third base to continue our mission of connecting communities across Australia.”
Mackay Airport CEO Richard Barker said the Melbourne service had been “highly anticipated” by locals, and “will open up a raft of opportunities for passengers and local industries”.
“It has traditionally been a lengthy process to travel between these locations, and many people simply would have chosen not to do so. Mackay and Melbourne both offer attractive experiences for visitors and I expect we will see many travellers taking advantage of these non-stop services,” he said.
“We now have all of Bonza’s routes flying from Mackay, including Cairns, the Sunshine Coast and now Melbourne, and these services are contributing 2,500 additional seats to the Mackay market each week.”
Bonza earlier this month completed the rollout of flights from its first base at Sunshine Coast Airport with the launch of services to Tamworth.
The carrier 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.
Bonza has said 93 per cent of its final network – 25 out of its 27 routes – is not currently flown by any other airline, while 96 per cent is not served by any other low-cost carrier. Many traditional carriers have argued its model would not work in Australia.