Sunshine Coast budget airlines Bonza eyes on expansion

 Monday, May 29, 2023 


Due to Bonza’s delayed launch, the budget airline is preparing to expand to a third base as it hopes to buck the trend of failed regional and low–cost carriers.

The Sunshine Coast budget airline has been rolling out new routes since February and now flies to 17 mostly regional destinations, with 25 of the 27 routes not flown by other airlines.

Bonza’s second hub is in Melbourne, but Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan stated that strong demand was causing the carrier to look for another base. He stated that they are certainly looking at growth opportunities in other bases, and also in existing bases, later this year.

Australia has a history of budget and regional carriers that have failed, including Tigerair, JetGo, Compass, and Ozlet.

Veteran aviation analyst Peter Harbison revealed the key to low–cost airlines’ survival was correcting mistakes quickly. He added that they have to watch very, very closely whether something’s working or not. There is only a limited period where you want to be losing money on a particular route.

Mr. Harbison exclaimed that Bonza was an ‘unusual’ budget airline because it avoided busy routes such as Sydney to Melbourne in favor of regional destinations such as Mackay, Mildura, and Coff Harbour. He stated that they were generating new business basically.

Mr. Harbison said the airline needed to expand to new routes to keep their planes in the air longer. He additionally stated that if one can keep those aircraft flying for 12 to 15 hours a day, then the unit cost comes down considerably.

However, if they do not have enough routes to fly the aircraft, then that unit cost goes up considerably, and so their break–even cost goes up.

A spokesperson for Newcastle Airport shared that they would welcome any conversation around establishing airline bases at their airport. They look forward to supporting Bonza in growth, and they will welcome conversations to form a strategic partnership when the time comes.

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