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Bonza staff in limbo and not paid for April

written by Adam Thorn | May 4, 2024

Victor Pody shot this Bonza 737 MAX 8, VH-UIK ‘Bazza’.

Bonza’s administrator has reportedly told staff they can’t be paid for the work they carried out last month.

Many effectively remain in limbo and are unable to claim their salary from the government immediately because the company is continuing to search for new investment in a bid to stay alive.

The core requirement of the ‘Fair Entitlement Guarantee’ is that an employee can only claim if they have lost their job “due to the insolvency of your employer”.

However, administrator Hall Chadwick said in its latest statement that the financial position of Bonza is “commercially sensitive” and “cannot be made public at this point”.

TWU national assistant secretary, Emily McMillan, said, “The shock of Bonza falling into administration has barely subsided and workers are being forced to enter Centrelink queues.


“It’s appalling that Bonza has failed workers so spectacularly and that aviation workers are once again paying the price for a broken industry.

“Bonza’s administrators must strain every sinew to find the means to pay these workers urgently. There is no greater priority than this.”

As of Saturday, the airline is still in voluntary administration and its flights are technically only grounded until Tuesday.

News.com.au later reported that staff were told that if they were to resign and take up employment elsewhere, this would not be deemed ‘casual work’, and their chances of receiving payment would be further reduced.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also advises on its website “If an employee resigns during the administration period, they may not get their accumulated leave entitlements.

“They become a creditor if the company owes them money, they need to speak to the administrator about outstanding entitlements.”

With an industry-wide talent crisis, it would also be harder for the administrator to save the airline if it doesn’t have both aircraft and staff to fly routes.

Bonza’s CEO, Tim Jordan, openly told Australian Aviation earlier this year that the airline wasn’t yet turning a profit but that the company wasn’t expected to break even until its fleet had grown, something he argued the firm was “not so far away” from.

It suggested Bonza would be reliant on funding from parent company 777 Partners or elsewhere until it could increase its fleet of 737 MAXs.

777 Partners, though, paid $30.9 million to Premier League club Everton hours after the budget airline’s fleet was taken away.

On Friday, Bonza’s administrators appeared to back the directors by saying they believed the senior team were blindsided by the news its aircraft would be repossessed.

“Whilst these notices [that aircraft leases would be terminated] were preceded by the event of default notices issued on 17 April 2024, the directors of the company have advised the action taken by the lessors was not foreshadowed or expected,” they said.

It also revealed Bonza was only told the leases on its aircraft would be terminated at 11:51pm on the day before the airline entered voluntary administration.

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