While it has yet to sell a ticket, Australian startup airline Bonza certainly knows how to generate fan involvement. As is its way, Bonza called for suggestions from its followers to name the third aircraft that’s about to join the fleet, and today it announced the choice.
Sheila will join Shazza and Bazza in the Bonza 737 family, marking a shift away from the rhyming slang of its older siblings. Shiela, more formally known as a Boeing 737 MAX 8, currently resides in the USA at Seattle Boeing Field (BFI).
Shazza was the first to arrive down under
Simple Flying has a global audience, and no doubt many might wonder exactly what is a Sheila. While it can be a female name, it’s also an Australian slang term for a girl or a woman, that first appeared in the language around the 1830s. The original connotation was as a reference to a woman of Irish descent, but more broadly, the Irish distinction gave way to a general term for any female. Before I get canceled, it is not in any sense a derogatory term, but you’re more likely to hear a bloke say it, that’s if you hear it all.
As with the two MAX 8s already in Bonza’s fleet, this one was formerly destined for delivery to LOT Polish Airlines in 2019, registered as SP-LVE. That didn’t happen, and while it’s three years old, Bonza will be the first airline to operate the aircraft. According to Flightradar24.com, the plane has been in Seattle since October 27th and has done three test flights. The first was a return flight from Boeing Field to Moses Lake Grant County International Airport (MWH), while the third was a fifty-minute flight around Seattle on Wednesday.
Now Bazza is in the house
Bonza’s second 737 MAX 8, VH-UIK, aka Bazza, arrived in Australia last Saturday, joining the first aircraft, which touched down in Queensland in July. Bonza’s operational base is at Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY), around 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of Brisbane. A fourth aircraft is also on the move, making the trip from storage at Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport (VCV) to Seattle, so perhaps another naming competition will be launched soon.
With a reasonable size fleet coming together and the peak holiday season fast approaching, Bonza urgently needs its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). The airline previously gave Simple Flying a statement on the AOC and said it has nothing more to add until Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) makes its determination. For those who have missed it, here is Bonza’s statement:
“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.”
What Bonza’s chief commercial officer Carly Povey did say today was that Shiela won out from a very tight field of short-listed names. Without another history lesson, the unsuccessful nominations were Robbo, Kimmy, and Bruce, all highly credible Australian nicknames. Bonza is promoting itself as a fun, slightly irreverent airline that’s not afraid of enjoying a laugh at its own expense, so the naming competition fits its engaging profile. Speaking of the process, Povey said:
“We’ve sought out their input for the names of our fleet and our onboard menu, which we are getting close to revealing. Once we’re up in the air, we will continue to ask travelers to inform us with their feedback and ideas.”
Bonza’s initial route map contains 27 routes to 17 destinations, with 93% of those routes not served by any other carrier. It’s aiming at a leisure-focused, point-to-point market, but its chances of launching in time for the summer holidays appear to be fading. Let’s hope they get there.
Do you think there will be a chance for selfies with Shazza, Bazza and Sheila?
- Stock Code:
- Date Founded:
- Dave Calhoun
- Headquarters Location:
- Chicago, USA
- Key Product Lines:
- Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787
- Business Type: