Attention all Aussies who have the travel bug: the first new domestic airline in 15 years is on the way.
Australians will soon have another option when they’re needing to fly domestically come September. Bonza, a new domestic airline, has just received its first aircraft – a Boeing 737 MAX – and, pending regulatory approval, commercial flights will begin in about a month.
According to Traveller, Bonza’s new aircraft left Boeing’s facility in Seattle on Friday, stopped in Hawaii and Fiji to refuel and is now at its permanent “home” on the Sunshine Coast.
Bonza initially plans to fly to seventeen destinations on twenty-seven routes and according to the new Aussie airline, twenty-five of these routes are not currently available through other airlines.
Since Tiger Airways (which is no longer in existence) was launched 15 years ago, Bonza is the first new airline to launch in Australia since 2007. And the reason for Bonza’s formation is to shake up the market with inexpensive flights to both popular holiday destinations and regional towns.
Chief executive, Tim Jordan confirmed that Bonza’s fares will be half the price of full-service airlines and similar to Jetstar’s fares; and to be perfectly honest, cheap flights will be a welcome change to the Australian domestic flight market.
Another aviation norm that Bonza is challenging is the way flights are booked; the only way to book a Bonza flight will be through its own app – unlike all other Australian airlines, no Bonza fares will be available for purchase via a third-party website.
Sadly, (for Sydneysiders) Bonza will not fly into or out of Sydney Airport due to high fees and a lack of available landing slots; Bonza will fly into Melbourne Airport though.
Along with Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast, – where Bonza’s fleet will be based – Albury, Bundaberg, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gladstone, Mackay, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Toowoomba Wellcamp, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast are expected destinations Bonza will offer once it’s flights get off the ground (pun intended).
Bonza’s new aircraft, and the first of its fleet, is the first Boeing 737 MAX to be based in Australia. The airline is expecting a second and third MAX aircraft to arrive in late August and in early September, and eight MAX aircraft overall will be delivered during Bonza’s first year of operation.
If you’re an aviation enthusiast, you’ll know that in 2019 the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide after its faulty flight stabilisation system caused two fatal crashes that killed over 300 people. However, after changes were made, the US Federal Aviation Administration cleared Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to resume service in 2020.
It’s interesting that Bonza decided to go with the Boeing 737 MAX after the controversy but hey, Bonza’s clearly a nonconformist airline; just look at their ‘woke’ (read: awesome) flight attendant uniforms. Stay tuned to see if Bonza becomes the new Qantas or falls by the wayside like Tigerair did…