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Virgin launches sale to Bonza’s Sunshine Coast base

written by Adam Thorn | May 27, 2024

Passengers disembark VH-UJK ‘Sheila’ after Bonza’s first flight from Darwin to the Sunshine Coast. (Image: Bonza)

Virgin Australia has launched a 72-hour flash sale to stricken Bonza’s home base on the Sunshine Coast.

The increased demand will be a boon to the Queensland airport, which has seen a dramatic collapse in its network since the carrier entered administration a month ago.

Fares will start from $69* one-way from Sydney and $109 one-way from Melbourne.

Virgin currently flies from the Sunshine Coast to Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart, as well as the NSW and Victorian capitals.

Bonza’s larger network, though, operated from the Sunshine Coast to Albury, Avalon, Cairns, Darwin, Launceston, Melbourne, Mackay, Mildura, Newcastle and Whitsunday Coast.


Airports are likely collectively owed millions by Bonza, which in total owes around $100 million in unpaid debts.

Last week, however, Sunshine Coast Airport, which was Bonza’s first base, said the airport has “strongly supported [the airline] in its mission to provide more affordable air travel to Australians” from day one and will continue to work with administrators.

“SCA is a creditor and shares the community’s disappointment regarding Bonza entering into voluntary administration,” it said.

“Sunshine Coast Airport would welcome the opportunity to work with Bonza again if the opportunity arises, or any other new entrants for that matter, to enable more choices for travel to and from the Sunshine Coast.”

Bonza’s administrator is currently seeking a two-month extension to its appointment as it continues to search for a buyer for the grounded low-cost airline.

Hall Chadwick has filed documents with the Federal Court asking to continue as administrator for Bonza until at least 29 July, with a second creditors’ meeting to be held prior to 5 August. The move comes as Bonza’s parent company, 777 Partners, indicates interest in restructuring the airline.

An extension of the administration would leave Bonza staff without pay for two more months, as they cannot claim certain benefits until the company is wound up. Still, it would give the airline a better chance of ultimately finding a buyer and returning to the sky.

“[The] main purpose of the extension is to provide the administrators with further time to conduct a sale process for the companies’ business and assets,” Hall Chadwick said to Bonza creditors.

Despite its lack of aircraft, Hall Chadwick noted Bonza’s most valuable asset is its air operator’s certificate (AOC).

The airline had leased all its planes, with all but one – VH-UJK ‘Sheila’ – now having left the country, and its AOC would risk being cancelled if the company is liquidated.

“Our understanding is that the AOC is not capable of being transferred to another entity and can only be used by the party granted the certificate,” Hall Chadwick said.

“Accordingly, we understand that the only way the AOC can be acquired by an interested party is if they were to acquire the shares in Bonza.”

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