BONZA Airlines: Mid-year launch and route network announced
We heard last year that Tim Jordan wanted to launch a new low cost Australian domestic airline in early 2022 that would not concentrate on the golden triangle of Brisbane/Melbourne/Sydney, but on regional and not currently serviced routes.
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Here for Allstralia!
Almost true to its promise, the airline has come out promoting a mid-2022 start with 16 destinations – only 1 a capital city, with fares at the ultra low budget end, probably around the AU$50 mark for a one-way one-hour fare and longer trips in the AU$75-100 range, all using new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Yep, that’s right those problem aircraft that fell out of the sky twice, and were suspended from the air for 20 months while software and other modifications were devised to counter its design faults. On the more appealing side, they are cheap to run – and probably cheap to buy. But I digress…
When and where can I book?
Set your calendar reminder – fairs are scheduled to be on sale in March 2022. Destinations will include:
- Coffs Harbour
- Port Macquarie
- Sunshine Coast
- Toowoomba Wellcamp
- Whitsunday Coast
Which city pairs?
We don’t have a list of city pairs yet, but with proposed bases on the Sunshine Coast, and Melbourne, you can expect them to be the ‘hubs’ for this airline which is all about point-to-point. Some prespective routes have been touted. Think regional flights like Cairns/Mackay and Rockhampton; Toowoomba/Townsville; Newcastle/Whitsunday Coast and Toowoomba/Whitsunday Coast for starters.
CEO Jordan has said that he won’t go into airport where he can’t get an advantageous deal – which probably explains why he is limited currently to one capital city. It may take a long time for them to make it to Sydney – maybe not until the Western Sydney Airport opens in 2026 – if they last that long?
Bonza will launch with just 5 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft seating approx 186 passengers to service this tourism driven carrier offering only economy seats throughout. That seat concentration won’t be as bad as the one devised for Ryan Air, but it will have 12 more seats than a 2 class Qantas 737. Jordan claims that 80% of the planned routes currently have no air service. On the upside this may open up new tourism possiblities and avoid competition with existing carriers. On the down side, that is a hell-of-a-lot-of new routes to promote off the bat.
CEO with low cost airline pedigree
Tim Jordan comes with an low cost airline pedigree that suits him to the task. He’s woked in Management and Opps for Cebu Pacific, FlyArystan, and Virgin Blue, the predecessor to Virgin Australia. He’s a low cost champion, but not an endorser of low quality, but don’t expect frequent flyer schemes, airport lounges or anything else that pulls on the bottom line. Mind you, when the airline is looking for a new income stream, I wouldn’t discount an eventual loyalty scheme of some description. Just remember that it is the single most profitable area for Qantas/Jetstar.
What’s Bonza’s low cost model?
According to Jordan its not Virgin Blue, or Ryanair, but more like North America’s Allegiant Airlines, or Europe’s Jet2 or – another airline backed by private investment firm 777 Partners – the Canadian ultra low-cost airline Flair where you pay $10 to make your fare flexible – ‘plane and simple’.
I think the model here is probablly more like Tiger Air – remember them? They never made a dime, got bought out at a bargain price by Virgin Australia after getting a warning about their aircraft maintenance and just prior to going broke, and disappeared when Virgin went into administration and was bought by Bain Capital.
I can’t see why someone like Rex, or QantasLink, or even Alliance isn’t in some of these proposed markets, or soon will be once Bonza reveals its hand. Bonza’s one advantage is the all fleet MAX 8’s, which will be cheaper to maintain, will be acquired at low cost and are cheaper to run.
The question is, will that be enough? Good thing 777 Partners appear to have deep pockets and have done this before. Lets just hope thier abacuses are working correctly.