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Bonza to stay grounded for another fortnight

written by Jake Nelson | May 15, 2024

Bonza’s former 737 MAX 8, VH-UIK, touches down on the Sunshine Coast.

Bonza will remain grounded for another two weeks as its administrators search for a buyer.

Flights will not resume before 29 May, administrators Hall Chadwick said, and staff will remain stood down until that time as talks continue with “interested parties” who could potentially save the embattled airline. Expressions of interest are open until Thursday.

The continued stand-down comes after Hall Chadwick previously told creditors it was speaking to 20 potential buyers for the airline, with around six “very interested parties”.

“The administrators continue with their efforts to maximise the chances of the company or as much as possible of its business continuing in existence; or if this is not possible, to achieve a better result for the company’s creditors than that which would result if the company was immediately wound up,” said Hall Chadwick in a statement.

“The administrators have continued to be in discussions and meetings with various investors, other airlines and companies from the travel industry over the weekend and early this week.

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“The administrators advised creditors at last Friday’s meeting that a timeframe for interested parties would be set. To that end, we have set and communicated that timeframe to interested parties.”

One potential buyer, Vietnamese low-cost carrier VietJet, is already understood to have walked away from the talks, and has been contacted for comment.

Two of Bonza’s planes have now been moved overseas, with C-FLHI “Bruce”, which was to be dry-leased from Canadian sister airline Flair, now back in North America, while VH-UIK “Bazza” is now in Europe according to data from FlightRadar24 after leaving Australia on Saturday.

VH-UJT “Shazza” and VH-UJK “Sheila” remain in Australia for now, while VH-UKH “Malc” is slated to fly out on Wednesday according to FlightRadar24. Hall Chadwick has previously admitted it would be unable to stop the planes from leaving the country.

Bonza entered voluntary administration last month after its fleet of 737 MAX 8s was seized by its lessors, cancelling all flights.

In total, Bonza owes money to around 60,000 people and companies. The debts include $5 million owed to 323 staff and close to $16 million owed to trade creditors.

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