Bonza will commence flights from its Gold Coast base immediately after receiving CASA approval for its wet-lease agreement with Canadian sister airline Flair.
The two 737 MAX 8 aircraft C-FLKC and C-FLHI, operated by Flair crew, have been given the green light to operate Bonza services within Australia, ending an uncertain period for the low-cost carrier after it was forced to delay the launch of Gold Coast flights while it awaited regulatory approval.
“The approval was given after Bonza demonstrated how it is safely integrating the Canadian-registered aircraft and crew members into its operation. The Flair flights will be conducted under Bonza’s air operator’s certificate,” a CASA spokesperson said.
“An agreement was also signed between CASA and Transport Canada outlining the responsibilities of each safety authority with regard to the Flair aircraft and crew.”
Bonza will now be able to service 14 routes from its third base on the Gold Coast, with an effective fleet of six aircraft, and is commencing these flights from 19 December. Scheduled Bonza flights on Tuesday include services to the Whitsunday Coast, Launceston and Mt Isa.
The deal with Flair – which is also owned by Bonza’s parent company 777 Partners – is a reciprocal arrangement that will eventually see Bonza send its planes and crews to service Flair routes when it has a large enough fleet of its own.
The airline is offering discounted fares to and from the Gold Coast, in part as a mea culpa for the impact on passengers’ Christmas holiday plans. CEO Tim Jordan said the discounts are a way of “acknowledging we could have done better and also shouting from the rooftops that Bonza is back”.
“We know it’s been a challenging time for some of our customers who were unable to fly and to them we say we’re really sorry and we’ll learn from this and do better to deliver for Australia,” he said.
“Now that we have approval for the two additional aircraft we’re scaling up our operations and servicing our new routes from our Gold Coast base.”