MIAMI – Bonza, an airline so new that it does not have an IATA code, a Wikipedia page, OR planes is set to launch in Australia in less than a year.

Bonza Airlines, whose web site is still a static landing page, is slated to be “Australia’s only independent low-cost airline” and plans to begin flying in mid 2022.

Although Bonza will go head-to-head with Qantas (QF), Virgin Australia (VA), and Jetstar ((JQ), the company will focus on regional leisure destinations rather than the east coast ‘triangle’ of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. It plans to fly point-to-point routes where, CEO Tim Jordan says, travel is now often limited to connections via major cities.

“When you look at the largest 15 domestic aviation markets in the world, Australia is the only one that has no independent low-cost operator,” says Jordan, who has worked at Virgin Blue, Cebu Pacific (5J), and FlyArystan (KC). “We’ve seen an opportunity in the marketplace, and one which is very complementary to existing operators.”

Jordan says that it’s a great time to launch a new airline as there are several former airline staffers made redundant during the pandemic who are eager to fly again. Also, Bonza’s backers, 777 Partners, have deep pockets and can likely lease planes at very favorable rates.

Bonza plans to fly the Boeing 737 MAX in a single, economy configuration.

Bonza will fly the Boeing 737 MAX in an all-economy configuration with 186 seats. Image: Boeing

The Name

An article on cites the origin of the name. “We chose Bonza for its Aussie resonance in signifying something which is simply yet unquestionably great.” The Urban Dictionary assigns it a meaning of “good and well executed,” a definition which “Jordan fully embraces.”

Jordan agrees. “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 $1,000 (for an airfare) you deserve a great product.”

Competition, Routes and the 737 MAX

The CEO does not think Bonza will be a direct competitor with JQ or any other airline. “That’s because our focus will be on routes which incumbent airlines currently do not fly.”

“This is about opening up new routes and new markets. We will offer a generally low-frequency service – maybe two or three times a week – at a very low price. That’s our mode of operation.”

Per the Executive Traveler article, Bonza will be the first Australian airline to fly the Boeing 737 MAX. VA also plans to fly the type, but will not take delivery until 2023. The all-economy configuration will seat 186 passengers.

“There are hundreds of MAXs flying around this world at this very minute. Australian authorities have approved the aircraft for airlines currently operating into Australia. Regulators around the world have certified that the aircraft is absolutely very safe to fly.”

At launch, the airline will have only two or three aircraft online. But, per Jordan, “depending on how we execute and regulators permitting, we’d expect to grow quite quickly thereafter.”

Featured image: Bonza Airlines, which plans to begin flying in Australia in 2022, will fly the 737 MAX. Photo: Bonza Airlines