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Union seeks meeting with Bonza over workers’ futures

written by Jake Nelson | April 30, 2024

Passengers and crew aboard a Bonza 737 MAX 8 in 2023. (Image: Bonza)

The TWU is seeking an urgent meeting with Bonza as uncertainty surrounds the future of the low-cost airline.

Pointing to “stranded passengers and jobs on the line”, the union says it is looking to make sure Bonza’s workers are looked after as the carrier suspends flights while discussions occur over the viability of the business, and has reiterated its calls for more regulation of the aviation sector.

“This is an extremely distressing time for workers and stranded passengers. Bonza must ensure staff are prioritised and informed as this process plays out,” said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

“Bonza and any other airline attempting to enter the Australian aviation market has little chance of survival. Despite speculation of issues behind the scenes at Bonza, this is an industry dominated by aggressive competition and unchecked corporate greed that will squeeze out any new entrant.

“We’ve seen the collapses of Ansett and Virgin Australia. Even Qantas has gone cap-in-hand to governments and taken wage freezes from workers when market competition has been its own downfall, while hoarding all the profits when the airline is on top.”


The TWU has been campaigning for a “Safe and Secure Skies Commission” to provide independent oversight and standards for the aviation industry.

According to Kaine, leaving the industry “up to the market” has enabled the “monster dominance” of Qantas, which in February posted a half-yearly profit before tax of $1.25 billion.

“We’ve seen thousands upon thousands of skilled, experienced aviation workers leave the industry in recent years,” he said.

“Illegal outsourcing and overzealous redundancies at Qantas, and lack of Morrison government support for a collapsing Virgin Australia and foreign government-owned aviation companies Dnata and SNP Security during the pandemic accelerated the race to the bottom in aviation.

“Aviation is an industry on its knees. Service standards have plummeted while airfares have gone through the roof. Regional jobs and communities are now at further risk of being cut off as a more cost-effective airline struggles to stay in the air.

“We need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to provide independent oversight and set standards for aviation. Australia needs a reliable aviation industry with good, secure jobs at its core. Now is the time to stabilise this industry before more hell breaks loose.”

The head of the Australian Airports Association (AAA) last year warned that the Qantas-Virgin duopoly would be difficult to break up, with 95 per cent of the market share between the two groups.

Speaking to the House Standing Committee on Economics inquiry into promoting economic dynamism, competition and business formation, AAA CEO James Goodwin noted that Qantas and Jetstar have a 66 per cent share of the domestic market, with Virgin at 29 per cent.

This has led to the market acting in a “very coordinated” way, he said, harming consumers in the process and making it difficult for new competitors such as Rex and Bonza to gain a foothold.

“It becomes very cosy and comfortable, to put it that way, that there is no need to necessarily do anything against the law because it is just so comfortable,” he said.

“It also means that regulators and governments generally might also find it increasingly difficult to try and intervene as well because the market becomes so reliant on the dominant players.

“Customers and the passengers at the moment are victims of this duopoly. What we see are those high airfares that people are just needing to pay.”

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Comment (1)

  • What I ask of the T.W.U. is, – please come up with specific policies, procedures and practices that you think will rectify the problem areas that clearly and continually aggravate you and lead to your broad-spectrum nonspecific denigration of both the company/s and some personnel involved. We can’t continue in this vein any longer.

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