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Exclusive: Bonza CCO Povey says network now right size for fleet

written by Jake Nelson | July 13, 2023

Bonza Chief Commercial Officer Carly Povey. (Image: Bonza)

Bonza Chief Commercial Officer Carly Povey says several factors, including its small fleet size and the industry talent shortage, have contributed to the airline’s decision on Thursday to axe five routes.

Speaking exclusively to Australian Aviation, Povey said that she was “confident” the network changes meant Bonza now has enough aircraft to service the 22 routes it will keep after 1 August.

“It was on us to recognize that near term, there are four aircraft in the fleet. We know enough to know that the fifth aircraft is likely imminent, but not until towards the back end of the year,” she said.

“We are comfortable now we’ve made these changes that we can operate the network we have with those four aircraft, and then we’re going to focus on and earning the right to grow.”

According to Povey, one of the factors was the delays in Bonza’s pilot training pipeline due to ongoing maintenance issues, which caused numerous flight cancellations; she added that the airline has also suffered a spate of around 10 birdstrikes in the span of nine weeks.


“[Talent is] a watchpoint in major cities like Melbourne, and it’s something that we’re acutely focused on at this stage,” she said.

“Where we’re actually seeing really strong signs of the Bonza model, somewhat cutting through those challenges in terms of recruitment that others have, is on the Sunshine Coast. It’s the first time many can be based at the Sunshine Coast without commuting to other airports around them, or across Australia.

“It’s a draw card for people looking to get back into aviation, to be able to stay at their home location.”

Despite the network cutbacks, Povey said Bonza is still looking to expand, including adding new routes and opening a third base. While she gave little chance of the axed routes resuming in the short term, she told Australian Aviation that they could “absolutely” return in the long term.

“Regardless of these changes, we still sit here with 22 routes, and that’s driven a 30 per cent increase in the number of low cost routes in Australia. So, it’s really important that we call out that broader benefit, that this is about reinforcing just how seriously we take what we do, and we’ve got to make sure we keep ourselves really honest,” she said.

“Quite frankly, if we were only focusing on growth, and we weren’t focusing on the fine tuning that’s needed in the core, and building on the great feedback we’ve had when we are reliable, we’d be doing things the wrong way around.

“To be this young and to not have some learnings would probably suggest that we’re not focused on what we know it takes to be here sustainably. We know there’s some hard decisions here, but there’s also an awful lot of positives.”

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