Last week, the new Australian start-up airline Bonza launched its inaugural flight from Melbourne (Tullamarine) to Mackay.
The inaugural service has now capped off the largest route map rollout in Australian aviation history. In just 17 weeks, the new low-cost airline has introduced 27 routes to 17 destinations across three states and it is promising there is more to come.
Chancing it in the lucky country
Sporting an ‘ocker Aussie’ image, the new airline is launching a challenge in a nation which has seen a string of start-up airlines come and go.
Australia is a massive continent and the tyranny of distance dictates the strong reliance on air travel for domestic transit between major urban and regional population centres.
The downside however is the relatively low head of population, comparative to that vast distance. Where Bonza plans to make a difference is its investment in regional route services which are currently not operated by other carriers.
Ninety three per cent of Bonza routes are not currently served by any airline and 96% are not currently served by a low-cost carrier.
So far, the airline has been met with a positive response from the public, with many people praising its low fares and convenient routes.
Bonza is still a relatively new airline, but it seems to have already some in-roads into the challenging Australian aviation market.
The airline’s low fares and convenient routes have made it a popular choice for travellers, and clearly the carrier now hopes to continue to build on this developing momentum.
The next move
So, with its initial network plan now officially in place, what is the next move for the fledgling low-cost Aussie carrier?
According to the national broadcaster ABC News, Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan said strong demand was causing the carrier to look for another base.
“We’re certainly looking at growth opportunities in other bases, and also in existing bases, later this year,” Mr Jordan said.
The ABC has calculated that Bonza’s aircraft are currently averaging a 75 percent uplift capacity, which is below the 90 percent target which has been set by the airlines US owner.
Here are some of the challenges that Bonza faces:
- The Australian aviation market is already quite competitive, with a number of established airlines.
- Bonza is a new airline, and it may take some time for it to build up a loyal customer base.
- The airline’s low fares may not be sustainable in the long term, and it may need to raise its prices in order to make a profit.
Despite these challenges, Bonza seems to be positioning itself well at this stage of the game. Time will further tell as it now moves to consolidate its initial route network.
On the plus side, the airline seems to support a strong management team and a clear vision for the future. Perhaps there is still room for another major player in the Australian aviation market.