- Bonza will be "Australia's only independent low-cost airline"Focus to be on regional leisure destinationsFleet will be Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets with all-economy seating
With airlines around the world doing it tough, now may seem like an unusual time to get into the business.
However, one Australian start-up believes a post-pandemic wave is on the horizon and they intend to catch it.
When Bonza launches in mid-2022, they will be Australia's first independent low-cost airline but that doesn't mean they will be flying in a sky free of competition. The carrier will be up against Jetstar, Qantas as well as Virgin Australia and Rex.
According to Bonza founder and CEO Tim Jordan, a key difference will be their focus on regional leisure destinations instead of the popular Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane route.
Jordan told Executive Traveller Bonza will offer point-to-point routes "where travel is now often limited to connections via major cities."
Prioritising direct regional routes above ones that connect to big cities is a different way of approaching the Australian market.
One that wouldn't see Bonza compete against heavy hitters, but regional carriers.
"Our focus will absolutely be on routes which currently today are not operated by any incumbent airline," Jordan said.
Australia's lack of independent low-cost airlines presented a clear opportunity according to Jordan, who has put his background working at Virgin Blue, Cebu Pacific and FlyArystan to good use.
As for the timing, Jordan said the future of travel would only get better.
"The light shines brighter every single day in terms of heading out of this revolting pandemic, and the opportunities in terms of executing Bonza with appropriate cost levels is now," he said.
When it comes to staff, Jordan arguably has a large pool to choose from, as carriers like Qantas cut at least 6000 jobs last year and Virgin dropped at least 3000 employees.
The CEO said he would focus on towns and airports "who will hopefully see that we can develop brand new markets for them and allow the tourism industry and the aviation industry to recover a lot quicker than otherwise would be the case."
Similarly, more than a few aircrafts are up for sale and with support from companies like 777 Partners, a Miami-based investment firm, Jordan said they could "acquire aircraft at rates probably not previously seen, or at least not seen in a very long time."
The fleet will be made up of Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets which are fuel-efficient and fully set up with economy seats.
What about the name, you ask?
Over the ditch, the word supposedly describes something that is simple but undeniably great. 'Bonza' is described by popular website The Urban Dictionary as "good and well-executed," which Jordan absolutely agrees with.
"That for me is exactly what we want to be. We want to be good, in fact we want to be great, and well-executed. I'm a firm believer that whether you pay $10 or $1000 (for an airfare) you deserve a great product," he told Executive Traveller.
Make no mistake though, just because Bonza is proudly low-cost, it doesn't mean low quality.
"It upsets me when certain low-cost carriers don't deliver a quality product. You deserve on-time performance, and safety always goes without question."
The affordable airfares are something Jordan sees as a way to make travel accessible to those who want to fly for pleasure, not just business.
"Australia has some wonderful airlines that are very focused on the business traveller, and they execute wonderfully."
"But we will be for all Australian travellers, whether it's for teachers, tradies, kids or carers – that's our market."
It will be a great option for New Zealand travellers, too - when we're finally able to travel to Australia again, having a new low-cost airline option will mean Kiwis can explore parts of Aus previously much harder and more costly to access.