Bonza Airlines: Welcome to ‘Shazza’ the new Boeing 737 MAX
Australia’s soon-to-launch newest airline has embraced the bogan by naming its first Boeing 737 MAX ‘Shazza’ after their appointed ‘local legends’ voted on a bunch of names suggested by the public.
OK, it’s a bit of a PR stunt to keep people interested until it starts actually flying – that is if it gets regulatory approval – in September 2022.
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Based on the Sunshine Coast, Australia’s new low-cost semi-regional airline plans 27 routes covering 17 destinations. All but 2 of the routes are not currently covered by other airlines.
Bonza will be the first new entrant to the Australian flying industry since Tigerair in 2007. Tiger stalled when Virgin Australia went into administration in 2020. Virgin did re-emerge but without its low-cost Tiger sibling.
Bonza will only sell its tickets via its phone app and plans to pitch its single class fare base at about half the price of full-service airlines (REX, Virgin Australia and Qantas), thereby making itself on par with Jetstar.
The upstart airline will service an interesting range of destinations on the east coast of Australia, centring on Sydney’s north, but, including Melbourne. Sydney will not be a destination, at least for the moment. Bonza will service these destinations:
- Coffs Harbour
- Port Macquarie
- Sunshine Coast
- Toowoomba Wellcamp
- Whitsunday Coast.
The first of Bonza’s shiny new Boeing 737 MAX has arrived and is the first of this plane type to be based in Australia.
The 737 MAX has attracted some controversy, with two of the model crashing in 2018 and 2019 killing over 300 crew and passengers. Those accidents lead to the suspension of the aircraft from flying for close to 2 years, while the software programmed to overcome a design flaw was remedied to the satisfaction of American, European, Australian and other airline safety regulators.
Virgin Australia also has this model on order, expecting 4 to be delivered soon, out of the 23 originally ordered, pre-administration. The MAX will also give Virgin a fuel saving of 15% compared to the old version of the Boeing 737.
The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.
It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.
This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.
It will come as no surprise that the name ‘Bazza’ was the runner-up name for Bonza’s new aircraft.
Bonza is introducing an innovative route model, so far untried in Australia. App-only fare sales pose much less risk than they would have pre-pandemic, given that we all run our lives from our phones. The airline is headed by ex-Virgin Blue administrator Tim Jordan and backed by the USA parent investor 777 partners which has a history with disruptive airlines, so let’s hope they know what they are doing.
I might try the airline, but with a Ryan Air like no-frills approach and without a frequent flyer program or lounge network, not my first choice.
This is the airline for you. You moan about Qantas all the time. Go and fly Shazza.
I have been known to moan ecstatically over Qantas, especially when in First Class.