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Bonza has three bases and 36 routes; has no direct competition on 83% of routes

Bonza MEL base

The first commercial service for Australian LCC Bonza was in January 2023. Nearly a year later, the airline has five 186-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8s. According to Cirium schedules data, Bonza – Australia’s only independent LCC – has 206 two-way weekly flights in January, all domestic. It has 1.7% of the nation’s services, rising to 2.5% of available seats, which takes account of its higher-capacity aircraft.

A simple network strategy

Like most (U)LCCs, Bonza’s network strategy is simple. It focuses on unserved markets and growing demand through low fares, non-stop service, a strong Australian-driven brand and heavy promotions. Demand stimulation is vital, so long as the achieved fares are good enough.

Low frequencies and high loads will be key, with traffic volume helping with all-important ancillary revenue per sector, which includes holiday packages like easyJet and Jet2.com offers. It is no coincidence that Bonza’s UK-born CCO was an early manager at Jet2.com.

A ‘hub bypass’ network approach, it is seeking to offer brand-new routes while reducing passengers’ travel time and providing cheaper fares.

Three bases and 21 airports, now in Tasmania and Northern Territory

Despite Bonza’s young age, it already has three bases. Influenced by the agreed airport deal and wider incentives, including state tax incentives, the Sunshine Coast is its HQ and was its first base.

It has two MAX 8s and 11 routes, including Darwin, which started on 29 November (2-weekly); it marked Bonza’s first Northern Territory service and first overnight flight. Sunshine Coast is its second-busiest base. With 21% of the airport’s fights, it is second only to Toowoomba by dominance (25%).

Its second base, at Melbourne MEL, opened in February and presently has one aircraft and 11 routes. They include Alice Springs (2-weekly), which started on 12 December. Melbourne is its third-busiest base.

Prague International Airport

Top Bonza airports

Gold Coast became number three

Perhaps the most obvious base for the leisure-driven carrier, at the world-famous Gold Coast, was not among its first airports. This was presumably due to an insufficiently attractive airport deal.

Despite this, it opened in November, has two MAX 8s and is already Bonza’s leading airport by weekly flights and routes (14). Its network includes Launceston, its first destination in Tasmania, which started on 21 November (3-weekly). The start of Darwin has been pushed back to 2 January 2024 (2-weekly).

Gold Coast base

36 routes are now offered

Bonza’s network comprises 36 routes, on which it competes directly with another carrier on just six. Three routes are served at 5-weekly, the highest frequency; three have 4-weekly departures; 12 are served 3-weekly; and 20 are 2-weekly. Its top routes are in January are:

  • Sunshine Coast-Cairns: 5-weekly
  • Gold Coast-Cairns: 5-weekly
  • Gold Coast-Townsville: 5-weekly
  • Sunshine Coast-Melbourne AVV: 4-weekly
  • Sunshine Coast-Townsville: 4-weekly
  • Gold Coast-Melbourne: 4-weekly

Bonza Australia network

London Southend Airport