BONZA PLANS to evolve its app-focused offering beyond flights alone to include hotels, car hire and experiences, potentially as soon as this year.
Tim Jordan, Bonza CEO, told Traveltalk the low-cost carrier sees complete holiday packages as “an opportunity.”
“We certainly see that as an opportunity, especially if we’re in the market of leisure market stimulation,” he said.
“So, clearly, we look at short breaks and holidays as a good growth opportunity for us, especially as we’re effectively creating brand new markets.
“That may not be from everywhere to everywhere initially, but it’s certainly an area that we believe there is a significant opportunity for us as we grow across the country.”
After months of anticipation, Australia’s new carrier took to the sky recently for its first official flight between its maiden base on the Sunshine Coast and Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine.
Proserpine is the first of 13 new leisure-focused routes that will begin progressively between now and the middle of April as new aircraft join the fleet, with direct flights linking the Sunshine Coast with Albury, Mackay, Avalon, Townsville, Rockhampton, Cairns, Newcastle, Mildura, Tamworth, Albury, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.
A second base in Melbourne will also soon open its doors, operating services to nine destinations including Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay, Mildura, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Tamworth, Toowoomba and also to the Sunshine Coast. Seven of these direct routes are unserved by any other airline.
Outside of these two bases, Bonza will also link Cairns with Mackay and Rockhampton; Townsville with Toowoomba and Rockhampton; and Proserpine with both Toowoomba and Newcastle.
Jordan also revealed the airline has firm growth ambitions, such as increasing the fleet to “at least eight” aircraft in its first year.
Already in possession of three planes colloquially named Bazza, Shazza and Sheila – but needing two more to fully service its initial commitment of 27 routes across 17 destinations – two more from U.S.-based parent company and primary backer, 777 Partners, are due to come online by the end of March.
As for growth in its flight network, Jordan said Bonza initially reached out to 45 airports across Australia in late 2021, with the first 17 that makes up its current route network simply being “the 17 most enthusiastic.”
“We do believe there’s a lot more opportunity out there. And we are actively having discussions with additional locations.”
When asked about the absence of Brisbane and Sydney from its route map, Jordan praised Melbourne for stepping forward and acknowledging that while it is already well served by incumbent airlines, Bonza did provide a point of difference.
“When considering access to Sydney, I think it’s fair to say that things are more complex. That is why the route network looks as it does.
“We would certainly encourage other cities and other airports who harbour similar intent and ambition for root growth and market growth to reach out to us.”
* Travellers are now able to book flights to 12 destinations on 15 routes up to late October. Flight prices start from as low as $49 per person one way.
TIM JORDAN, BONZA CEO