New Australian start-up low-cost airline Bonza has certainly hit the ground running this week, with the addition of four new regional services to its steadily growing network.
This is in keeping with the new carriers overarching plan to establish its proposed regional network by the middle of this year.
AviationSource reported on new route inaugurations earlier this week, and news of the airline’s chairman Rick Howell stepping down just three months after the carrier’s first service became operational.
Mr Howell step down from the role was met with speculation in some quarters, however the move was a planned one, with the plan being for Howell to move into other areas with the equity company after the new Australian start-up became airborne and operational.
Having held firm plans for a regional network which would see the inception of new flight services to parts of regional Australia not serviced, this week has seen the carrier move forward at a steady clip.
Sunshine Coast – Coffs Harbour
Yesterday, Bonza launched its first-ever flight from the Sunshine Coast to Coffs Harbour and connected the home of two Aussie icons – the Big Pineapple and the Big Banana.
Coffs Harbour becomes the 12th destination to launch from Bonza’s home base on the Sunshine Coast and comes days after the airline introduced Toowoomba Wellcamp to its operations.
All routes on Bonza’s initial route map will be introduced by 23 May with destinations including Tamworth, Bundaberg and Gladstone to come.
Tim Jordan, CEO at Bonza, greeted customers at Coffs Harbour as they landed to a warm welcome from members of the community and local tourism industry from across the NSW Mid North Coast.
“From yesterday, Aussies can ditch the 12-hour round trip in the car for less than a tank of fuel as we continue to give the many, and not the few, access to air travel.”
“To celebrate today’s launch, we have dropped some $29 fares into the Fly Bonza app so we suggest locals get in quick to secure their next holiday,” said Jordan.
“The two big quirky landmarks are not the only draw cards with both regions sharing an abundance of beaches, treetop adventures and wildlife wonders. Our schedule means you can take a long weekend in either destination and explore something new,” he added.
On hand to welcome the inaugural flight was Coffs Harbour Airport General Manager, Frank Mondello, who said, “This direct route is a first between the two regions and is a major milestone that will have far reaching economic benefits to the Mid North Coast of NSW.”
Sunshine Coast Airport CEO, Andrew Brodie echoed Mr Mondello’s comments and said, “This new route will have a major impact on both regions, making air travel affordable, accessible and instead of a five-hour drive, you can fly between the two destinations in just over an hour, it is a great outcome for both regions.
One of Bonza’s key draw cards as it markets its initial route network plan is to offer flight services to travellers who would ordinarily have had to make the journey by car.
Toowwoomba – Whitsundays
Beach holidays and inland escapes also became a little more convenient with Bonza also launching a new direct route between Toowoomba Wellcamp and the popular Whitsundays today.
Today’s latest route caps off a big week for Bonza in the state of Queensland with the launch of direct services between Toowoomba and Melbourne (Tullamarine) and Townsville on Monday and Wednesday.
It is also the third route to launch from Whitsunday Coast Airport, where Bonza now flies direct from Sunshine Coast, Newcastle and now Toowoomba.
As Bonza progresses through the next couple of months with its route inaugurations to fill out its initial planned regional network, it will then be interesting to see how the airline fares as it settles in and consolidates.
For now, the ocker Aussie airline seems to be heading for speed ahead, mate.