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Exclusive: Bonza load factors averaged 70%, source claims

written by Jake Nelson | May 15, 2024

Passengers on board a Bonza flight in 2023. (Image: Bonza)

Bonza was averaging load factors of around 70 per cent across its three bases before entering administration, a source has claimed.

On average, Bonza’s 186-seat 737 MAX 8s were seeing more than 130 customers per flight at its Sunshine Coast, Melbourne (Tullamarine) and Gold Coast bases since commencing services in January last year, a source with knowledge of the situation told Australian Aviation.

“There were some routes that weren’t showing as much promise as others, but on the most part the majority of routes were performing well. Future load factors were very good, the business plan was working as expected, and profitability was in sight,” they said.

According to the source, the data, which does not account for ancillary revenues such as food and drink sales, shows Bonza was a “viable business trending in the right direction, dismissing speculation that Bonza had no future”.

“These numbers were continuing to trend upwards as its 36 operated routes continued to mature,” the source said.


“Bonza’s average fares were nearly 30 per cent higher over March-April 2024 than the same period in 2023. In addition, forward load factors were showing significant year-on-year increases of 10-20 per cent for the period of May-August 2024, demonstrating very significant growing demand for the low-cost carrier services.

“In preparation for May this year, the airline was making plans to celebrate flying its one millionth customer, having flown more than 750,000 customers to 21 destinations across Australia in its first year, with 84 per cent of those routes not served by any other airline and 89 per cent of routes not served by a low-cost carrier.”

The source’s claims follow assertions by Bradley Davren, CEO of Bonza’s maintenance provider AVCRO, earlier this month that the airline was viable and close to attracting a buyer before entering voluntary administration after its aircraft were seized.

“The airline was trading with absolutely no credit issues. Obviously, we would be one of their largest creditors. They were never on stop credit with us. They never even appeared to be trending in that direction, and in fact, it’s unfair to the employees if this is wound up, to suggest that this is the reason why,” he told Australian Aviation.

“Reading a lot of the articles that suggest there are 300 insolvent airline operations in the country, it’s quite disingenuous to put this one in that same category.

“Their load factors are fantastic. Their model works brilliantly, the aircraft are not too big. In my personal opinion, I think they should charge more for what they’re doing, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s a commercial decision on their behalf. And ultimately, there’s no reason that they would be insolvent outside of not having aircraft. That’s never happened in Australia, ever.”

Speaking to the Australian Aviation Podcast shortly after the airline’s first anniversary of its inaugural flight on 31 January, Jordan said Bonza was “not so far away” from breaking even and aimed to be “well on the way” to profitability this year.

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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