LONDON – The newest Australian low-cost airline Bonza had hoped to be off the ground by mid-year, but are still awaiting CASA approvals to commence operations as the year steadily draws to a close.
The carrier is reportedly still negotiating the approvals process with the Australian regulatory body, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, for its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).
The start-up airline had hoped to begin shaking up Australia’s regional air travel market by mid-2022; offering some of the cheapest air ticket prices in Australia.
Tim Jordan, CEO of Bonza in his statement promised that “With destinations ranging from Albury to the Whitsundays, travelers will now be able to fly, instead of impossibly long road trips as well as fly direct without a stopover in a major city.”
Mr. Jordan further expressed, “Aussies can look forward to enjoying more time at their destination and spending less of their hard-earned cash getting there in the first place.”
A boon to regional tourism
Operating a fleet of new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, the new start-up airline has the potential to unlock regional travel opportunities for Aussies.
With the proposed launch schedule already announced, Bonza 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.
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.
Bonza took delivery of its third Boeing 737 MAX 8 at its base on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast last week.
Speaking to the Australian national broadcaster ABC News, Bonza CEO Tim Jordan commented on the delay with the CASA AOC process, saying: “This is the first new high-capacity airline in Australia for 15 years, and obviously the process associated with signing that off is quite thorough.”
It is understood that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority are still awaiting some key documents to facilitate the completion of the approval process.
With some in the industry expressing their doubts that a new high-capacity regional airline will be able to sustain its operations with a relatively low population base, it will certainly be interesting to see how the new start-up airline progresses.
Australia has always championed the underdog, but historically several regional commercial operations have fallen by the wayside in the Land Downunder.
With a new year on the horizon, we are six months down the track from the planned official start of commercial operations, and Bonza have missed out on the end of year travel rush; hopefully 2023 will be a good start-up year for them.
As the locals say: “She’ll be right. Bonza, mate.”