All of Bona’s initial rollout is complete and the low-cost carrier is getting on with the job of running an airline in three Australian states.
This week Australia’s newest airline completed the rollout of its initial route network, capped off with the inaugural flight from Melbourne to Mackay in Queensland. Bonza’s fleet of new Boeing aircraft are now in full service on 27 routes to 17 destinations in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
In a little over three months, Bonza has launched services to 17 destinations, rolling out the purple carpet at airports across the country, sometimes in airports that have never had jet services. Many of the 17 cities had no direct connections, which meant long, tiring and expensive trips via a capital city for passengers to get to where they wanted to be.
All the dots are colored purple
That’s not the case anymore and with fares as low as AU$49 ($33) the price of a ticket is no longer a barrier to a weekend away or a longer holiday or family reunion. The final dot on the map to be connected was from Melbourne International Airport (MEL) to Mackay Airport (MKY) on Queensland’s Coral Coast, some 600 miles (970 kilometers) north of Brisbane.
Bonza describes its journey, which started on January 31st with a flight from the Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY) to the Whitsunday Coast Airport (PPP), as the “largest route map rollout in Australian aviation history.” Reflecting on the rollout as well as looking ahead, chief commercial officer Carly Povey said: “This afternoon’s historic flight to Mackay from our second base in Melbourne marks the finish line for our initial rollout and the start line for Bonza earning the right to grow.”
“Our focus now is firmly on improving our operations, earning the respect of customers and then we will continue to add new routes and a third base to continue our mission of connecting communities across Australia.
“Travellers have embraced our mission. – to connect more Aussies to their own backyard than ever before – as their own. I have been touched by the stories of families and friends reuniting and first-time flyers seeking adventures in new destinations because that is what Bonza is all about.”
Bonza’s first Melbourne – Mackay flight
Flight AB1031 departed Melbourne Airport on Tuesday at 16:21 and after a 2:33 hour flight landed in Mackay at 18:54.
The aircraft operating the service is registered VH-UKH, more commonly known as MALC, one of Bonza’s four 737 MAX 8s. With Simple Flying onboard, MALC departed Mackay at 20:15 before closing out the day in Melbourne at 22:57.
In the three days since, this Boeing 737-8 has flown 12 sectors to all corners of Bonza’s network, which is a good illustration of how the low-cost carrier utilizes its fleet. Bonza has established bases at its home port of the Sunshine Coast Airport and Melbourne International Airport, with two aircraft and their crews at each.
Connecting Melbourne to Mackay, a city with a population of around 130,000 people, creates one of the routes Bonza’s competitors say are not economically viable. However, with fares starting as low as AU$89 ($60) for the two-and-a-half-hour flight, it won’t be the ticket prices that get in the way of the route’s success. The Melbourne service will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with other Bonza flights to Cairns and the Sunshine Coast also operating from Mackay.
Speaking to locals at Mackay airport it’s clear that getting to Melbourne was way too expensive and too much bother for them when the only way was via Brisbane Airport (BNE) or another hub airport. That’s all changed now, and with a near-full load of enthusiastic passengers on my flight it seems this is another inspired route choice by the Bonza team, finding a niche where others did not.
Have you flown with Bonza? Let us know in the comments.