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Bonza flies 650k customers to prove doubters wrong

written by Adam Thorn | December 28, 2023

Passengers disembark VH-UJK “Sheila” after Bonza’s first flight from Darwin to the Sunshine Coast. (Image: Bonza)

Bonza has provided more evidence its unique strategy is working after revealing it’s flown more than 650,000 customers in 2023.

The airline is the first in Australia to operate so-called “point-to-point” leisure services that skip out major cities and allow consumers to fly directly from holiday destination to holiday destination.

Before launch, ex-Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce and other senior figures in the industry publicly doubted there would be demand for such a service in Australia.

The figures, which have yet to be independently verified, would amount to around 3,095 full flights of its 737 MAX 8 if each customer booked one seat.

Bonza has a fleet of four aircraft, each holding 210 passengers. However, despite beginning services in January, the carrier staggered its launch and removed and added routes, making a detailed analysis difficult.


Nonetheless, the numbers suggest there is a bigger-than-expected public demand for the point-to-point model.

CEO Tim Jordan argued that Bonza’s unique strategy – which often means passengers don’t have to transfer flights in a major capital – saved passengers money in 2023.

“Based on airfares in 2022–23 from our Melbourne-based routes, we saved customers more than $400 per round trip, which equates to a saving of over $100 million for Australians in year one. This is being referred to as the Bonza Effect,” said Jordan.

“Our airfares, which start from $49 per person one way, are forcing competitors to lower their prices, which is a win for domestic aviation and for Aussies travelling across our beautiful backyard.”

The business also revealed more than 1.5 million had downloaded its app and the company had sold “2.6km” of its snags in a bag.

Previously, Bonza has only released sales figures sporadically, but recently told Australian Aviation it had seen load factors above 90 per cent during peak periods.

It also said its most popular routes included Bundaberg–Melbourne, Newcastle–Whitsundays, Albury–Sunshine Coast, Melbourne–Mackay, and Cairns–Sunshine Coast.

The news comes weeks after Bonza finally commenced 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, were 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.

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Comment (1)

  • Interestingly I have just received a message from Bonza advising that they have cancelled my flight on 31 January 2024! They are stating regulatory approval for the cancellation. How can you go from receiving the appropriate approvals to now being the reason for the cancellation. There’s incompetence either with Bonza or CASA

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