Bonza has indicated that it will not send its 737 MAXs to support sister airline Flair until its own fleet is bigger.
It comes after Australia’s newest carrier surprisingly revealed that Canadian airline Flair would send aircraft and crew to fly Bonza-branded flights in the Australian summer, while Bonza would reciprocate and send its planes and people to Canada during the North American peak season.
The ‘wet lease’ agreement means Bonza can launch a third base in the Gold Coast as soon as November, despite only having four MAXs of its own.
Speaking to Australian Aviation, Bonza CCO Carly Povey said the low-cost carrier’s partnership with Flair is key to its future growth, allowing Bonza to use Flair aircraft to supplement its operations during the Australian peak season, which coincides with the off-peak in Canada.
“As we grow and as we get to scale, the opportunity to do that in reverse for short periods of time when the customer demand is high, we think, is quite game-changing from an industry perspective. It means that we can scale where the demand is and the right size in the off-peak,” she said.
“The age-old challenge is when you have peak periods, how do you scale that demand? And what’s beautiful is that our off-seasons are the opposite ends of the year for both of us.
“It comes with scale rather than here and now, but is absolutely something that we see being an important part of how we grow going forward.”
Flair, which is part-owned by Bonza investor 777 Partners, has 18 aircraft but will send two to join Bonza’s fleet this spring to support its new Gold Coast base.
“In the Northern Hemisphere, during the winter months, domestic demand is lower, but sun destinations remain popular, and the reverse is true in the spring, summer and fall,” said Flair in a statement in August.
“With that in mind, we have entered a strategic and reciprocal partnership with Bonza – Australia’s newest low-cost carrier.
“We will temporarily lease two aircraft to Bonza in late fall that will allow them to kick-start operations out of a new base for the peak Australian summer holiday season.
“This is a reciprocal partnership that both airlines intend to leverage for many years to come.”