‘Here for Allstralia’: new LCC startup Bonza gets off the ground

Australia’s newest low-cost airline Bonza has finally got its operation off to the flying start. The LCC made its first-ever commercial flight on the Sunshine Coast-Whitsunday Coast route on Jan 31, 2023. With the commencement of Bonza’s air services, Aussies can embrace the opportunity to explore more of their background at low fares.

Bonza Airline lands at Avalon Airport. Picture: Tony Gough

The beginning of a new era

Less than a month after obtaining Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), startup Bonza hit the skies by launching its first passenger flight yesterday. The carrier deployed Boeing 777 Max 8 to get off the ground at Sunshine Coast and head to the Whitsundays. The inaugural flight marks the beginning of a new era for Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the home base for Bonza.

Aussie travelers can now easily book low-cost air travel to undiscovered holiday spots and connect with their loved ones for holidays and time. Bonza is set to jump-start the regional aviation and tourism market by focusing on overlooked and unserved routes. The carrier will adopt a point-to-point network model and operate more flights to underserved regional communities.

Also Read: Melbourne Airport Wins Two 2021 Top SkyTrax Awards

Over 10,000 confirmed bookings

Bonza put its first seats on sale on Jan 27 and has received over 10,000 confirmed bookings. While the initial route map includes 27 routes to 17 destinations, travelers can currently book flights to 12 destinations on 15 routes. From the Sunshine Coast, passengers can fly directly to Albury, Avalon, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Mackay, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Townsville, and Whitsunday Coast.

Phase one of flight releases, now on sale, will be available for booking until late October 2023. Bonza is revolutionizing the way Aussies pay for travel, with fares starting as low as $49 per person one way.

Bonza experience: What’s new?

Australia’s latest airline, Bonza, seeks to offer a new way of traveling for passengers, from ticket bookings to the onboard experience. Bonza customers can directly score seats on airline flights via the Fly Bonza app. The new budget carrier accepts ticket bookings via its new app and authorized travel agents.

Likewise, passengers won’t find carts or trolleys rolling up and down the aisle. Whatever snacks or drinks they want onboard, flyers must order them via the app. Then, they will get their meal delivered directly to their seat on a tray, allowing space efficiency and a more peaceful flight.

In line with the carrier’s commitment to be ‘Here for Allstralia,’ Bonza will exclusively serve Australian foods and drinks onboard. It will collaborate with local food and drink suppliers to offer an inflight menu that features 100% Australian snacks, meals, and beverages. Its new menu partners include Handmade Food Co. (croissants) and Good Mates (craft beers).

Bonza customers can access many of the country’s hidden regional gems abroad, including the expensive Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. The state-of-art narrowbody B737 Max 8 can accommodate 186 passengers in a single flight. Dressed in purple livery, the aircraft features purple-colored slimline seats. Each seat is fitted with USB power (at the eye level of the seat back) and 110-volt laptop power (below the seat). Unfortunately, there isn’t any seatback entertainment screen to put an extensive library of movies at customers’ fingertips. Passengers can access an array of entertainment via its FlyBonza app.

Boeing 737 Max 8

Bonza is the first airline to fly the twin-engine Boeing 737 Max type in Australia. At present, the airline has 5 B737 Max units at its disposal. The twin jet is powered by 2 CFM International LEAP-1B engines and has a cruising speed of Mach 0.79 (453kn) and a range of 3,550 nmi (6,570km). Laid out in an all-economy configuration, Bonza 737 Max boasts a quieter cabin and comfortable seats with movable headrests and generous pitch.

Hubs of Bonza

Bonza is headquartered on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and has operating bases at Sunshine Coast Airport and Melbourne Airport. Situated 10km north of Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast Airport is the primary gateway to the region and the only airport capable of offering mainline jet services.

The airline’s second Australian base, i.e., Melbourne Airport, is the principal airport in Melbourne, with over 10 million passenger movements annually.

While Bonza has kicked off operations from the Sunshine Coast, it’s yet to launch routes from Melbourne. It will put Melbourne routes on sale upon receiving the delivery of two additional aircraft. The first new aircraft will join the fleet next month, and the others a month after.

Bonza will operate the highest frequency on the Sunshine Coast-Cairns route, with five weekly flights. The flight on this route is set to begin on Apr 12, 2023.

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