Australian low-fare carrier Bonza has announced it has suspended all operations with immediate effect. 

In a statement, Tim Jordan, Bonza’s CEO, said that the airline had “temporarily suspended” its services on Tuesday, 30 April, as discussions were underway “regarding the ongoing viability of the business”.

As reported by The Australian Financial Review, Bonza’s financiers, 777 Partners, had appointed specialist restructuring and advisory company KordaMentha earlier in the month.

With a small fleet of four Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, these aircraft were repossessed by lessor AIP Capital. One further 737 MAX 8 aircraft was leased from Flair Airlines, a Canadian low-fare airline also owned by 777 Partners.

Bonza launched flights from Melbourne Airport on 30 March 2023. Photo: Tennis Australia/ FIONA HAMILTON

Since its launch in January 2023, Bonza has had a rocky journey as a new entrant into the Australian domestic market. With an aim to fly underserved routes – an estimated 93% of its original 27 destinations were not served by another carrier – the airline has struggled to cement itself into the Australian market.

Six months after its initial launch, Bonza announced it was making cuts to its route network, reducing its destinations total from 27 to 21 in an attempt to stabilise its route network and reliability. Shortly after, its CCO, Carly Povey, left to pursue other opportunities outside of aviation.

Its attempt to launch a route from the Gold Coast to Darwin was finally announced in March 2024, after a series of delays surrounding capacity constraints and CASA certification issues with its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

But one month later, any dream of becoming a mainstay in Australia’s domestic aviation scene, as competition to Qantas and Virgin, has vanished. LARA understands that Bonza will now enter voluntary administration.

Following its operation suspension, Qantas and low-fare carrier Jetstar both released statements, offering their support for Bonza’s stranded passengers and employees and flights for passengers whose flights had been cancelled.

“We know the news about Bonza today is difficult for both their customers and their team members. We extend our thoughts to our aviation industry colleagues and their families – from pilots and cabin crew to flight planners and operations controllers – who will all feel the impact of today’s news,” said Qantas.