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Bonza staff can begin process to claim unpaid wages

written by Adam Thorn | June 22, 2024

Passengers and crew aboard a Bonza 737 MAX 8 in 2023. (Bonza)

Bonza’s administrator has told staff they can now submit their request for the government to pay their unpaid wages, despite the airline not yet being formally liquidated.

In a new statement, Hall Chadwick said it held meetings with employees to answer questions and was working with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to “accelerate the process” of claiming payment under the Fair Entitlement Guarantee.

Bonza entered voluntary administration in April 2024 after all its planes were seized by lessor AIP Capital, before sacking all its staff in June.

However, employees remained in limbo and could not claim their salary from the government immediately because the company was searching for new owners and was not formally liquidated – a process that has still not yet begun.

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”.


“On Monday 17 June 2024, the administrators held meetings with employees across three locations, being Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Melbourne, to offer assistance and answer questions on the Voluntary Administration process during this difficult period,” said Hall Chadwick.

“A key purpose of the meeting was answering questions and providing assistance in relation to the completion of Fair Entitlement Guarantee (FEG) Forms and Proof of Debt Forms.

“The Administrators advised employees that even though the company has not been placed into Liquidation, employees are able to complete and submit their FEG Forms.

“The Administrators continue to work with the Department of Workplace Relations (DEWR) in relation to the FEG Scheme to start the process of verification of the employee entitlements.

“This process is normally only undertaken once the Company is in Liquidation, however, the Administrators are working alongside the DEWR to accelerate the process of recovery of entitlements by employees under the FEG Scheme.”

Hall Chadwick added that a meeting is set to be finalized to “decide the future of the company” and “may resolve to place the company in liquidation”.

It comes after Australian Aviation reported that Sunshine Coast Airport, Bonza’s main base, is set for a dramatic reduction in passenger numbers following the airline’s collapse.

BITRE figures released by the Department of Transport on Friday show that the airport’s passenger numbers in March hit 159,000 – 65 per cent larger than the same month in pre-pandemic 2019.

Bonza operated flights from the Sunshine Coast to Albury, Avalon, Cairns, Darwin, Launceston, Melbourne, Mackay, Mildura, Newcastle and Whitsunday Coast.

Post-Bonza, the airport’s network dramatically dwindled to include only Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Auckland.

The March figures cover Bonza’s last full month of operation, while the data also reveals the Sunshine Coast’s passenger numbers surpassed 180,000 in January – an all-time high.

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