The Story Of Bonza, Australia’s New Low-Cost Airline

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Bonza mate, the airline for Australia, will soon be the newest airline to join the Australian aviation industry permitting regulatory approval.

Utilizing the 737 MAX, they’ll aim to be different from the competition from the moment you look to book a flight and, in addition, will serve markers that currently lack crucial transportation links directly.

I had the chance to sit down with Tim Jordan to discuss all things Bonza, learning about the story, critical aircraft choices, how to establish an airline and more. In the first part of a mini-series, we dive deeper into the story of Bonza, how it came about and more. 

One question that’ll commonly come to mind is how one starts an airline, or better yet, how an idea comes about to create such a commitment and investment of time, resources and money. But, for Tim Jordan, the airline’s founder and CEO, it was not as late as you may imagine. 

“I guess the origins of Bonza were back in 2009. I returned from three and a half wonderful years in the Philippines, transforming Cebu Pacific into the low-cost carrier that largely resembles today. Then, I would step out onto the veranda onto the porch, look up at the aircraft flying over the top of my house, and realize that most of the people I was living with couldn’t afford to get onto that aircraft.

Tim continued by saying that these findings came to him at a time many wouldn’t expect, but sometimes where our most thought-provoking ideas emerge was bizarre.

Unfortunately, it’s a reality often found in many other parkers, away from the Philippines and even in the case of Bonza, Australia. Airfares are not cheap; unfortunately, they have only risen since the emergence of the pandemic.

For Bonza, though there was importance on the communities that were priced out of airfares, regional communities also deserve adequate transportation in the form of flight but maybe lack it, or it is simply too out of reach to be a reasonable means of transport. 

“There is a complete disconnect here in Australia, and, in many parts of the world, there has been whereby people in regional centres earn the least amount of money from a demographic perspective. And yet the airfares are the highest. On the other hand, people in capital cities with access to low-cost carriers generally earn more money, yet they have the lowest airfares available.”

Gladstone, Queensland – A destination part of Bonza’s initial route map

Tim Jordan has worked extensively in the aviation industry, from FlyArystan to being the Chief Commercial Officer at GoAir in India and Cebu Pacific, as touched on by Tim previously. It’s a wealth of experience that started at a young age, working regular airport jobs and getting a feel for the industry.

As the years progressed, Tim was able to find his footing and direction, and it led him to high-up management positions across various carriers, to now founding and launching Australia’s newest airline.

Tim’s passion for aviation is evident when speaking to him. After travelling the world and working in different markets, he felt personally responsible for improving the current situation in Australia regarding travel, airfares and more. He wanted to influence the market, and in came Bonza. 

Australia isn’t without airlines, having essential companies that have been present for a considerable period.

Therefore, it was always poised to be a tough market to crack. So Tim and his team needed to ensure that the business model of Bonza was not only a well-thought-out one but one that wouldn’t present them with the competition. Bonza isn’t looking to be the next Qantas, and that’s important. Tim says: 

“This market already has some good airlines in it, without a doubt. But their focus is squarely on the business end of the market. And it works for them. That’s great. There is just a gap in the market for a leisure-focused, independent, low-cost carrier to fill the significant niche that exists in this market, which has already been filled around all of the other largest domestic aviation markets in the world, but just not here in Australia.”

One of Bonza’s most notable features is its branding. Featuring purple as its primary colour, it steers away from the typical white Australians see on airlines. Tim explained how the livery and critical colour branding is a bit more personal than you might think. 

“We wanted to do bright colours. Like most low-cost carriers, you know. In this particular market, you know, Red was gone. Orange was gone. Yellow, you know, it’s a tricky one. Someone was after lime green at one point, and I went no, don’t like that. So purple, to be quite honest. My wife tells me that, you know, purple of the sunsets and sunrises, so that works. I also have a the Jacaranda trees. So I have a bit of an affinity for purple, I think, as a consequence, and that’s where it ended up.”

In this piece, maybe one of the elephants in the room is the name Bonza. Tim took the time to explain the thought process, the meaning behind the name and how it came from a list that included hundreds of other alternatives.

“Bonza, we wanted something very different in the market. We wanted to say we’re very proud to be Australian while also being different in the market. We started with a list of about 300 different. There’s some bizarre stuff on there. But we ended up with Bonza. It means good, well executed, and, you know, that’s exactly what we need to be, we need to be excellent, and we need to be well executed and if we can achieve that. Well, you know, that’s Bonza.”

Bonza is part of Australian slang, featured in some regional areas. Aside from starting the airline, Tim’s mission is to work towards bringing the word Bonza back. They believe through an airline made for the people of Australia; they’ll be well placed to do so. 

With a passionate team behind the airline and an intention to be the airline for Australia, focusing on a customer experience unlike any other, in a time where airlines have come under fire for their poor handling of paying customers, Bonza is excited to begin services with a hopeful start date of early 2023, subject to regulatory approval. 

Daniel Fowkes
10 Dec 2022
· Exclusive 
· Interviews 

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      The airline is still awaiting approval to fly from governing bodies in Australia – Once approved, it can begin flights to its initial destinations. This will also be dependent on how many aircraft are readily available.

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  4. WOW ..congratulations for the birth of BONZA !! Looking forward to try and experience your service.

  5. Flew Bonza from Avalon to Sunshine Coast on 14/3. Everything went smoothly, it was on time, baggage was off quickly and the in-flight service (ordering by the app) was great. There were are few hiccups at check-in but I’ll cut them some slack as staff and systems are bound to have a few teething problems. Overall a very acceptable experience, 4 out of 5.

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