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Bonza should have used us more, says Avalon Airport boss

written by Jake Nelson | May 17, 2024

Bonza began services to Avalon Airport in February 2023. (Image: Victor Pody)

Bonza might “still be around” if it had utilised Avalon Airport more, its CEO has said.

Tony Brun told Australian Aviation Bonza was down to five Avalon services per week on two routes – Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast – when it went into voluntary administration late last month, and that Jetstar’s upcoming Brisbane service is going to bring more total passengers than “all of Bonza”.

“Our thoughts are with the Bonza family and the staff that have lost their jobs, and we hope that they are looked after in this whole process,” he said.

“It impacts the competition for the consumers as well. Bonza brought choice, and we wish they’d used us a bit more. Our view is they probably still would have been around if they had more routes out of us. We’re a low-cost base with a huge population catchment.

“Had they been running shorter hauls to Hobart and Adelaide, and maybe to Sydney in the middle of the day when there’s plenty of slots, I reckon they’d still be around today.”

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Avalon, which is currently only serviced by Jetstar to the Gold Coast and Sydney after Bonza’s grounding, is the “logical choice” for low-cost carriers, said Brun.

“Australia needs additional low-cost carrier capacity, and we can offer the airport capacity for them to service the market with a catchment of 3.3 million people,” he said.

“You can land at our airport and go to the footy and be there in an hour. There’s so many choices that we offer, and as I said, off-peak travel into Sydney Airport where there are slots – you could do it from Avalon, fill your boots. So, there is the capacity there.”

Brun has called for more competition in the airline market, particularly in the low-cost space, where he says there is plenty of room for more entrants.

“Whether it’s a rebirth [of Bonza] or whether it’s an additional airline, there is more than enough market in Australia for a low-cost carrier to operate. We’re convinced of that, and we think the flying public believes that too,” he said.

“We hope that the administrators can save Bonza, but if it’s not Bonza, and it’s another group that comes out of the ashes or is a separate group, there is the need in Australia for another market entry or two or three.

“We need competition in the aviation space, but we also need competition in the airport space to provide the capacity for them to operate, and we are that source.”

Jetstar will begin flying from Brisbane to Avalon on 28 June, marking its 100th concurrent domestic route. Melbourne’s secondary airport was Jetstar’s first base when it initially launched in 2004 with a fleet of 14 717s inherited from Impulse Airways; its maiden flight took place on 25 May of that year, from Avalon Airport to Newcastle.

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