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BONZA AIRLINES: Liquidation – the end of the runway.

BONZA AIRLINES: Liquidation – the end of the runway.

It looks like Bonza Airlines has reached the end of the runway. With no buyer and all the staff sacked, a meeting of creditors on 2 July 2024 voted to liquidate the airline.

Hall Chadwick, the company administrator, released a scathing report last week that suggested the airline may have traded while insolvent. Creditors may receive nothing, with Bonza having accrued losses of over AU$133 million.

An overwhelming majority of 35 creditors voted to liquidate, while six opposed the motion.

a man standing in front of a plane
Tim Jordan, Bonza CEO in happier times [Bonza]


Bonza started operations in September 2021. It had promised to start flying in early 2022. It was a year later, after receiving its Air Operating Certificate, that it started flying in February 2023.

The operations of the airline were beset with delays, missing aircraft, and other operational issues.

It ceased flying on 30 April 2024, when all flights were cancelled. Voluntary administration followed, with Hall Chadwick appointed, and mounting a campaign for the sale of the airline.

In May, it was revealed that the airline had accumulated debts of over AU$116 million, owed to a combination of 57,933 customers with forward bookings, 323 employees, and 120 trade creditors.

By then, the lessors of its planes had cancelled contracts and were in the process of repossessing the aircraft and removing them from Australia.

Some of the financial issues stemmed from a lack of liquidity by its major backers, 777 Partners.

a group of people standing in front of a plane
Happier times at the Melbourne launch of Bonza [Bonza]

The End of the runway

The administrators’ report by Hall Chadwick refers to significant solvency and operational concerns at Bonza Airlines since November 30, 2023. It suggests that they may have been insolvent as early as March 1, 2024. Trading while insolvent is a criminal offence.

The final creditors’ report lists a range of errors made by Bonza’s management, including the primary shareholder, 777 Partners. The backers kept the airline afloat and supplied it with aircraft but on an erratic basis. The administrators listed four reasons for Bonza’s failure:

  • ongoing trading losses,
  • management failures
  • strains on cash flow
  • inadequate financial planning

Despite an extensive sales campaign, the administrators did not receive any offers for the airline.

This final winding up of the airline does have a sunny side for the 325 employees, though. They can now apply for the government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee, a last-resort scheme that provides financial assistance for employees with unpaid entitlements due to insolvency. Most employees’ last pay was in March, with administrators called a few days before the April payroll was due.

Claims from creditors, including staff, add up to AU$165 million, but there are unlikely to be any assets to cover that debt.

a plane flying over land
Bonza Airlines Boeing 737-MAX [Bonza]

2PAXfly Takeout

This is a sad outcome for all – including staff and passengers.

The death of an airline is always to be regretted. It had the potential to shake up the Australian airline industry, but instead, it is another set of wings on the dumpster fire of Australian fledgling airlines.

R.I.P Bonza

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