Coffs Harbour has become the biggest casualty of Bonza’s network shakeup, with the airport’s sole Bonza flight getting the chop from 1 August.
Bonza launched its single route from Coffs Harbour, which flew to the Sunshine Coast, on 21 April, and is dropping it just over three months later due to low demand. The low-cost carrier has flown twice per week between the two holiday destinations, with some initial tickets on sale for as little as $29.
Speaking to Australian Aviation, Bonza Chief Customer Officer Carly Povey said the airline is continuing to have conversations with Coffs Harbour Airport.
“The door remains open for Coffs, just as it does with other airports around the country. It’s not a decision we took lightly – we feel deeply in terms of that community and the impact,” she said.
“Sadly, the demand just wasn’t there at the level that we needed it to be now. But does that mean the door is closed on Coffs Harbour? Absolutely not. We’ll continue to work with the airport there.”
Both Coffs Harbour and Sunshine Coast Airports are managed by the same company, Agilis Airports. In a statement, Coffs Harbour Airport General Manager Frank Mondello (pictured, centre) told Australian Aviation it “has been a pleasure for Coffs Harbour Airport to have Bonza as a partner airline”.
“We fully respect and support Bonza’s decision to make changes to its network. We know these decisions are not made lightly and unfortunately, demand for the service was not sustainable at this time,” he said.
“We will continue to work with the Bonza team to look at future opportunities and destinations to better connect our region with both major cities and regional centres across Australia. Bonza has been a great supporter of regional airports, and we know that this change will help build a sustainable foundation for Bonza to secure their long-term success in Australia.”
Rex’s Deputy Chairman John Sharp in March quipped he “can’t imagine” why anyone would fly the service.
Speaking to BOSS magazine in what has turned out to be a prescient interview, Sharp hinted the two holiday destinations are too similar to make business sense.
“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.”