LONDON – New Australian low-cost start-up airline Bonza is now cleared to commence operations, following the issue of it’s Air Operator’s Certificate by the Australian aviation regulator.
The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) today issued an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to new Australian airline Bonza after the carrier submitted final documents and successfully completed proving flights.
The AOC is the regulatory approval required by Bonza to fly scheduled passenger-carrying flights in Australia.
A specialist CASA team has been working with Bonza since it submitted its application last year, progressively assessing various components and providing feedback.
CASA Director of Aviation Safety and Chief Executive Officer Pip Spence said Bonza went through a rigorous assessment and validation process to ensure it could operate safely.
“This is a significant milestone and we congratulate Bonza on achieving its air operator’s certificate,” Ms Spence said.
“The CASA and Bonza teams worked collaboratively throughout the application to ensure the airline’s operations met Australia’s high aviation safety standards. I would especially like to acknowledge Bonza’s willingness to work with us on this complex process.”
Ms Spence said the AOC process was designed to ensure that everyone boarding an aircraft in Australia could do so with confidence and the knowledge they were travelling safely.
“All commercial operators in Australia have to go through this process, which considers how the operator will meet the required safety standards,” she said.
“Our assessment includes a thorough examination of technical documentation as well as verification and testing.
The process examines whether the airline has the facilities, processes and appropriately trained personnel to comply with their operations manual.
It involves conducting assessments of the carrier’s proposed operations, facilities, aircraft and the aerodromes to which they operate to ensure that they meet our safety requirements.
‘Australia has one of the safest aviation industries in the world and travellers should be assured when they get on a Bonza aircraft that the operator has been assessed in detail to ensure it complies with the same safety requirements as other Australian airlines,’ Ms Spence concluded.
For the new start-up airline, the lead up process with certification approvals has been a protracted one. The bureaucratic process being what it is, Bonza had previously anticipated an operation start-up of mid-year 2022.
Operating a fleet of new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, the new start-up airline will ultimately spread their network across 17 regional locations through the Australian east coast states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Planned destinations include Albury, Avalon, Bundaberg, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gladstone, Mackay, Melbourne, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Wellcamp, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast.
The Australian domestic market has a prior history of start-up airlines coming and going. On the one hand Australia is a huge continent with its major population centres spread across vast distances. On the other side of the coin, it is a large landmass with a relatively low population base of only 25 million.
A key to Bonza’s start-up strategy is that of the 27 planned routes, 25 of them are not currently being served by current air operators.