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New Route of the Day – Asia Pacific (29 November 2023): Bonza between Sunshine Coast and Darwin


Australian LCC Bonza introduced the latest addition to its network on Wednesday 29 November by inaugurating flights between its Sunshine Coast base and Darwin. The 2,800-kilometre route will be maintained 2-weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays departing the Sunshine Coast, and on Thursdays and Sundays from Darwin. The carrier faces no competition between the two cities, connecting the Sunshine Coast Airport with the Northern Territory for the first time. The route will be maintained with Bonza’s 186-seat 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Flight AB645 departs the Sunshine Coast at 20:30 local time, arriving in Darwin at 00:20 local time the following day. The return service, operating as flight AB645, takes off from the Northern Territory’s capital at 01:10 local time, touching back down on the Sunshine Coast at 05:30 local time.

What they said

Tim Jordan, CEO of Bonza, said: “We couldn’t think of a better way to launch our entry into the NT than a first flight from our home base – Sunshine Coast Airport. We know the Top End is often a bucket list destination and by introducing more affordable flights from $149 per person (one way), we’re making it easier for Aussies to explore more of their beautiful big backyard. Our latest route is also more good news for the Sunshine Coast tourism industry as they welcome additional visitors ahead of the summer peak season.”

Chris Mills, CEO of Sunshine Coast Airport, added: “Our partnership with Bonza has connected us to incredible destinations across Australia, and now the connection to Darwin opens up a world of new opportunities. We are extremely proud of our region, and the incredible entrepreneurs and businesses that make it special, which is why we wanted to welcome travellers with a breakfast to showcase what the region has to offer. Our focus at Sunshine Coast Airport is to increase visitation to our region and give locals more choice and flexibility to connect them with family, friends and loved ones.”

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Sunshine Coast is Australia’s fastest growing airport

Located approximately 90 kilometres north of Queensland’s capital of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast Airport has become Australia’s fastest growing, in large part due to Bonza’s decision to open a base. Last year, the airport handled close to 1.5 million passengers, shattering previous records. During Q4 2023, which sees the start of the summer travel season in Australia, Bonza is the airport’s second-largest carrier based on available capacity and the third-largest based on the number of operated flights. The LCC has 151,012 seats on the market, behind JetStar, and a total of 860 flights.

Sunshine Coast Airport serves 14 destinations including Adelaide, Albury, Auckland, Avalon, Cairns, Darwin, Mackay, Melbourne, Mildura, Newcastle, Rockhampton, Sydney, Townsville, and Whitsunday Coast. Due to its proximity to Brisbane, the airport is expected to benefit from the city’s hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympic Games.

Bonza now serves over 20 destinations

Launched earlier this year, Bonza plans to predominantly serve under-utilised domestic and regional routes within Australia. Boasting a fleet of four 737 MAX 8 jets, the carrier currently has three bases. Alongside the Sunshine Coast, they include Melbourne and the Gold Coast. Bonza’s current route map features 38 routes to 21 destinations.

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