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Flair reportedly splits from 777 Partners as Bonza saga continues

written by Jake Nelson | May 2, 2024

A 737 MAX 8 operated by Bonza’s Canadian sister airline, Flair. (Image: Flair)

Canadian low-cost carrier Flair appears to have divorced itself from parent company 777 Partners as its sister airline Bonza attempts to fight its way out of administration.

777 Partners, which is believed to have held around 24 per cent of Flair, has seen its stake reduced to almost nothing, according to sources cited in the Australian Financial Review. The Miami-based venture capital firm is also a part owner of Bonza, which entered voluntary administration this week.

An unnamed “affiliate of Flair’s largest senior lender” is acquiring a portion of 777’s stake, the airline said, as well as providing “new non-binding debt funding”.

“We are excited about this strategic evolution and the new financial commitment,” said Stephen Jones, CEO and President of Flair Airlines.

“We are grateful for their support as we chart the course for continued growth.”


Australian Aviation this week reported that 777 Partners paid the equivalent of $30.9 million AUD to Premier League club Everton hours after the Bonza’s fleet was repossessed. 777 Partners has been attempting to buy Everton since at least September, but questions have repeatedly been raised about its ability to close the deal.

The firm earlier this year faced legal action from aircraft lessors over three Flair 737 MAX 8s and one 737-800 that were repossessed last March over unpaid fees.

Three 737 MAX 8s and one 737-800 leased to Flair from a trio of Ireland-based lessors were seized last March, which reportedly resulted in 777 Partners sending planes that had been earmarked for Bonza to Flair to make up the shortfall.

As reported in The Guardian, the lessors, Corvus Lights Aviation, MAM Aircraft Leasing 4 and Columba Lights Aviation, were seeking US$28.5 million from the investment firm, which includes interest, lost income, repossession and reconfiguration costs, and damages for breach of contract. They claimed that 777 Partners had been ignoring their demands for payment.

Up until it entered administration, Bonza was flying its own aircraft from the Gold Coast, with both its planes leased from Flair otherwise occupied.

The two wet-leased Flair 737 MAX 8s, C-FLKC and C-FLHI or ‘Matilda’ and ‘Bruce’ respectively, shifted to a dry-lease arrangement, with the intention they would be operated by local crews from the Gold Coast.

Matilda had returned to North America to operate Flair flights, while FlightRadar data showed Bruce had not flown commercially since the end of February as it awaited recertification by CASA to fly under an Australian registration number.

Bonza had difficulties launching numerous routes from its Gold Coast base late last year, with delays in CASA approval for its wet-lease agreement with Flair pushing back the start date to 19 December, though some services using Bonza’s own planes had commenced in November.

Bonza administrators Hall Chadwick have said the airline will not fly again until at least next Tuesday.

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