Australia’s latest airline startup, Bonza, has added a third aircraft to its fleet, despite not yet gaining its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). The Boeing 737 was registered to Bonza on October 25th and, according to, is currently parked at Seattle Boeing Field (BFI).

Documents from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) show that Bonza’s third Boeing 737 MAX 8 is registered VH-UBI. The ‘new’ aircraft, MSN 60388, was built in June 2019 and first registered to LOT Polish Airlines as SP-LVE, but ultimately not taken up. Bonza’s first MAX 8 registration VH-UJT arrived in July, and the second, VH-UIK, touched down in Queensland yesterday at the Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY).

Is this Bazza arriving in the warm sunshine yesterday?

Bonza is naming its aircraft based on feedback from Australians living in the regions it plans to service, with the first named Shazza (Aussie slang for Sharon) and the second rumored to be Bazza (Barry). There is, as yet, no signs of what VH-UBI will be christened, but no doubt it will be as cringe-worthy as the first two.

The ferry flight started from Calgary International Airport (YYC), with stops along the way at Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and in Fiji at Nadi International Airport (NAN). The final leg was a leisurely 3:37-hour hop across the Pacific Ocean to Australia’s Sunshine Coast, where it arrived at 09:19 on Saturday. All up, it took around sixteen and a half hours of flying to deliver VH-UIK from Canada to the welcoming arms of Bonza staff in Queensland.

The history for the third aircraft, VH-UBI, lists just two flights between Seattle Boeing Field and Moses Lake Grant County International Airport (MWH). Both flights happened last Thursday, with the outward leg from Seattle a 1:36 hour flight and the return taking a more direct route of just forty-three minutes.

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Australia's Bonza Third Boeing 727 MAX 8 VH-UBI

On the flight map above, just east of the Boeing 737 is a place called Walla Walla, a very Australian-sounding place in the heart of Washington state. Coincidently, there is an Australian town in New South Wales called Walla Walla, the indigenous name for the ‘place of many rocks,’ and just 24 miles (39 kilometers) from Albury, one of the destinations on Bonza’s route map.

The AOC needs to come soon

Bonza Boeing 737 MAX Over Newcastle Nobby Beach

Photo: Bonza

On a more serious note, the bigger issue is obtaining the AOC, and until that’s granted, Bonza is holding off naming an actual start date for services. December to February are the peak summer holiday months in Australia, and given that Bonza is positioning itself as a point-to-point low-cost leisure carrier, it needs to be up and running soon. As we reported in September, Bonza appointed Michael Young as its chief operating officer, with a focus on finalizing the AOC requirements. Young has had similar roles with Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia and is responsible for flight and cabin crew, engineering, ground services and operational performance.

Earlier this month, Simple Flying contacted Bonza for an update on the AOC application, and we received a reply from the airline’s chief commercial officer Carly Povey. She told us that Bonza “will continue to update Aussie travelers as soon as there are updates on all things Bonza,” adding:

“We fully respect the regulatory process and continue to work with CASA on it. They do incredibly important work regulating aviation in Australia, and we respect the process we’re working through with them. It is wrong of us to comment on when that process will be completed.”

The good news for Australians looking for bargains is that Bonza is getting its fleet and personnel together while the AOC process continues, which is a real sign of its commitment to the local market. Hopefully, we will soon see the gleaming 737 MAX 8s with the big thumbs-up logo appearing at airports around Australia.

Are you looking forward to Bonza’s arrival and flying on these new MAX 8s?

Source: Australian Aviation

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