Bonza chief backs cost-saving as bogan airline takes off

Bonza chief backs cost-saving as bogan airline takes off

The high volume of orders and short flight time on Bazza’s maiden voyage left a handful of passengers, particularly in the middle of the cabin and including a Boeing executive, without food or goods they had already paid for. Passengers were not told that their items would not arrive.

To cut costs, Bonza dropped in-flight trolley service, physical menus and Wi-Fi. Customers must book flights, check in, order and pay for food through the Fly Bonza app, which operates on a limited Wi-Fi service. A bottle of Nu Pure Spring Water or cup of tea will set you back $3.50.

CEO Tim Jordan said customer disputes will be resolved through the Fly Bonza app’s digital chat feature. The fledgling airline does not have a call center or any phone number that customers can call to resolve issues, another cost-saving initiative.

“We’re not an airline that’s going to say we’re not going to get things wrong,” Jordan said. “And we plan to apologize and learn from it and try to improve. And that’s the way we’re going to approach the market and we believe it’s quite refreshing.”

The Sunshine Coast to Whitsunday Coast route is the first to be rolled out in Bonza’s planned flight network spanning 17 destinations and 27 routes, including Albury, Bundaberg, Toowoomba as well as Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie believes the new airline will transform the region’s economy and contribute $86 million in tourism dollars to the wider region. Of Bonza’s 17 routes, 13 have Sunshine Coast Airport as the point of origin or departure.

“This is a game changer. It’s unbelievable,” Brodie said. “It’s a partnership forever.”

The new service provider is keen to capitalize on the trend of people moving away from metropolitan cities and into regional areas driven by COVID lockdowns and the ubiquity of remote work.

On board the “Bazza” flight were key figures from Bonza backer and US private equity firm 777 Partners, including founder and managing partner Steve Pasko, chief operating officer Prasad Hedge, and chief airline investment officer Manish Raniga. Darren Hulst, Boeing’s vice president of commercial marketing, was also on board. Bonza also invited food partners, hyper-local small businesses from the Sunshine Coast, on the flight.

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