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Bonza reshuffles again to add Sunshine Coast–Launceston

written by Adam Thorn | February 2, 2024

Victor Pody shot this Bonza 737 MAX 8, VH-UKH ‘Malc’.

Bonza has made yet another change to its network this week after announcing it would launch twice-weekly flights between the Sunshine Coast and Launceston.

It comes just a day after it revealed it would axe the underperforming route between Townsville and Rockhampton.

The airline – which has just celebrated its first anniversary – has repeatedly suggested it would be quick to adjust its ‘point-to-point’ network, arguing that demand for an unusual service can rarely be gauged in advance.

On Friday, the airline revealed its new flights between the Queensland and Tasmanian tourism destinations would start on 29 March and depart twice weekly on Monday and Friday with flights from $89 per person.

It’s the low-cost airline’s 12th route from its home base at Sunshine Coast Airport and second route from Launceston Airport. It’s also significantly the first time a direct, commercial service has ever connected the two destinations.

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Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Chris Mills said, “The new direct service provides a significant boost to both regions, connecting our two tourism destinations for the very first time.

“It will open up a new market for tourism operators here on the Sunshine Coast, with Tasmanians now having direct access to our pristine beaches, incredible restaurants and unique experiences.

“Launceston is now the 15th destination on offer from Sunshine Coast Airport and places Tasmania firmly on the doorstep for locals. Launceston has a rich history and offers culinary experiences with incredible natural wonders for people to explore.”

Speaking to Australian Aviation for an upcoming podcast, Bonza CEO Tim Jordan flagged that the airline would continue to axe unpopular routes as it developed its network.

“Just like when you go down to your favourite restaurant or takeaway, there’s things that get moved off the menu,” he said.

“We’re going to be no different in the fact that if something’s not working for us, we’re going to be taking it off the menu and we will juggle the aircraft capacity to where it’s needed, and that’s just a rational business going about its business.”

Earlier this week, Australian Aviation reported how Bonza would axe its route between Townsville and Rockhampton due to low demand.

Non-stop flights between the two Queensland destinations will wrap up on 29 March, though Bonza has assured passengers in Townsville and Rockhampton that it will continue to serve other routes from both cities, including to its Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast hubs.

“Both the Townsville and Rockhampton communities have greatly supported the other routes, which we remain committed to provided there’s ongoing demand,” a Bonza spokesperson said, noting that the route “wasn’t popular with customers”.

“It’s standard practice within aviation, as with most industries, that when a route/product doesn’t perform well, it’s reassessed and the resources reallocated to deliver a better outcome.

“Rockhampton continues to have flights to/from Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, whilst Townsville has flights to/from Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast.”

Bonza is Australia’s first airline to fly so-called ‘point-to-point’ leisure services not serviced by the capital city-focused Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, and Rex.

It specialises in flying from smaller destinations to smaller destinations, eliminating the need to stop in a larger city.

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