New low-fare start-up Bonza Airlines, has been overwhelmed with 4000 expressions of interest from staff while 40 airports, including a number in Western Australia, want to host the airline’s services.
Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan says the response to the airline has been “fantastic.”
In an exclusive interview with West Business, Mr. Jordan has revealed that a “good handful” of Western Australian airports are in the mix to attract services from Bonza Airlines.
“WA services certainly could be on the radar when operations start in the second quarter next year,” Mr. Jordan said.
“There are some really exciting route options that no airline is covering.
“The reception we have received from airports has been really positive and they see what a game-changer we will be for them and their region.
“We have literally hundreds of route combinations.”
Mr. Jordan also revealed that the airline will have eight 186-seat Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in it is fleet in the first 12 months.
And these aircraft will burn “25 percent less fuel per passenger than a competing Qantas 737NG.”
Mr. Jordan said that rather than one large base the airline is looking initially for at least three and the routes would be served from two to four times a week.
“We will have multiple bases across the country.”
“We are aiming for year-round services but these would fluctuate from say two to four flights a week depending upon the season.”
Bonza is backed by huge US private investment firm 777 Partners, whose aviation investments include Canada’s only independent low-fare airline, Flair Airlines, and the Southeast Asian-based Value Alliance.
In addition, its investment portfolio includes several software companies and aircraft leasing.
In October London-based GlobalData’s Travel & Tourism analyst Gus Gardner told West Business that Bonza will be a major disruptor “as competition between airlines [in Australia] has remained low and underserved communities have suffered.”
“Bonza Airlines will provide the vital low-cost competition in a full-service dominated market which could expectedly be a disruptive force,” Mr. Gardner said.
“The new entrant’s strategy to connect underserved airports and target leisure travelers could see the airline become a sizeable competitor over the coming years.”
Bonza’s business model is similar to US ultra-low-cost airline Allegiant Air which has perfected serving routes which other airlines ignore.
Allegiant only faces competition on 18 percent of its 518 routes that cover 129 destinations across the US.
Bonza’s model also mirrors Europe’s giant ultra-low-cost Ryanair which has opened up many airports that are no more than 2000m of concrete in a sunflower field and in the process become Europe’s largest and most profitable airline.