Bonza looks to be on the brink of launching imminently after its first 737 MAX flew from Seattle to Hawaii – likely meaning it’s en route to Australia.
Australian Aviation can reveal its first aircraft, VH-UJT, departed Seattle at 4:38 pm on 29 July and landed in Honolulu at 7:44 pm.
It comes weeks after we broke the news the budget airline was seeking 200 cabin crew to start “immediately”. The airline was originally targeting a mid-year launch, but in May hinted that was likely to have slipped back to September.
Bonza is gearing up to begin flying on 27 routes to 17 destinations in a move that could revolutionise the local industry. It’s seeking to fly “point-to-point” leisure routes not serviced by Qantas, Virgin and Rex, mostly skipping out major capital cities.
The jet flying today, registered in Australia as VH-UJT, was previously headed for LOT Polish Airlines and sported the registration SP-LVE.
Earlier this year, Bonza’s founder Bonza, Tim Jordan, told the Australian Aviation Podcast the business had got a “phenomenal” deal on the 737 MAXs it will launch with.
“How many low-cost carriers enter the market as a startup with brand new aircraft normally?” said Jordan, who also hailed its “fantastic” green credentials.
The move will see Bonza become the first Australian airline to welcome the 737 MAX for regular domestic operations, after the aircraft was grounded globally for nearly two years following two fatal crashes overseas.
Despite the aircraft’s detractors, its supporters, including Jordan, point to it being far more fuel-efficient than current narrowbodies operating in Australia.
“We believe that the MAX, and its entrance to Australia is an absolute plus for us as we launch next year,” said Jordan.
“At this minute, there are hundreds of MAX aircraft flying around the world. And in fact, before too long, obviously, Fiji, and also Singapore will be bringing it here. We just see it as a fantastic aircraft to deliver the low-cost product that we need.
“In terms of us and timing to the market, 777 Partners [its investors] have been able to acquire these aircraft, a good number of them, at prices that are just phenomenal. And that is almost unique.”
Meanwhile, its recent job adverts sought customer-facing cabin crew and supervisors to work from its home bases on the Sunshine Coast and in Melbourne.
Bonza said candidates would ideally have 12 or more months of experience on B737, Airbus or E-Jets, but would accept those new to the industry.
Candidates must also be over 18, able to pass respiratory tests, proficient swimmers, and able to reach up to 180cm. You can find out more and apply here.