Business Treaveler logo

Travel news, reviews and intel for high-flyers

Bonza, Australia’s New Low-Cost Airline, Launches Flights

Bonza will serve an initial 17 destinations, with tickets starting at around $35 one way

by Fergus Cole

February 3, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Bonza Airways

The inaugural flight of Bonza, Australia’s first new airline in 15 years, took to the skies in Queensland this week, on Tuesday, January 31.

Founded in 2021 by CEO Tim Jordan, Bonza, officially Bonza Aviation Pty Ltd, had been waiting for months to be approved as a licensed commercial airline in Australia. It will be the first new carrier to enter the market in 15 years.

Each of its three Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft has been given quirky but familiar Australian names—Bazza, Shazza, and Sheila. Bazza was the first to fly, taking off from Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY) at around 8:30 a.m. local time Tuesday and arriving at Whitsunday Coast Airport (PPP) at around 10 a.m.

“We had many happy customers and invited guests onboard and everything seemed to be very well received,” said Jordan of the inaugural flight. “I think people realize that we’re bringing something very different to the market—with a focus on new markets, new market growth, price stimulated travel, which for many regions will be the first time,” said Jordan.

The airline will serve 27 different routes to start, connecting 17 destinations across the states of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. Its two hubs are Sunshine Coast (MCY) and Melbourne Airport (MEL), the latter of which is expected to get its first glimpse of Bonza’s livery within the next few weeks. The airline also serves regional airports including Cairns (CNS), Townsville (TSV), and Rockhampton (ROK).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Bonza (@flybonza)

Bonza hopes to expand its network to compete with the likes of Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar. The airline said it has held talks about serving Sydney (SYD)—Australia’s largest airport—but prohibitive costs have put it out of reach for the time being.

“The unfortunate reality is that Sydney Airport is the most constrained and regulated airport in the world, which means we have very limited capacity during peak periods,” said a spokesperson for the airport. “Demand during peak periods is also very high and that, combined with inefficiencies in the way the current system operates, makes it hard for new entrants to access slots.”

As with most low-cost carriers, passengers should expect few onboard perks. Snacks and beverages can be purchased, but no complimentary meals will be provided. However, prices on Bonza’s routes start at just 49 AUD ($35) one way, which is hard to beat in Australia’s domestic market.