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Bonza’s Future Remains Uncertain

The company's staff were told the airline will be shut down until at least May 29.

A Bonza 737 MAX aircraft (Photo: Shutterstock)

Bonza, the recently shut down carrier in Australia, has no end in sight for returning to the skies after two weeks of canceling its flights. Hall Chadwick, the administrator of the airline, said that the suspension of flight operation would be held until May 29.

The airline owes a debt of over $116 million, including $5.3 million in salaries with more than 300 employees were affected; salaries in April remained unpaid. Also, the airline owes $4.6 million to an aircraft lessor, $10.5 million to airports, $58,000 to customers, and $16 million to trade creditors.

“Two months is a long time to go without pay.” Emily McMillan, Transport Workers’ Union national assistant said to ABC. In the meantime, passengers seem stuck in limbo as no refunds are being processed.

According to ABC, about 20 parties including investors, airlines and travel companies held talks to revive Bonza. However, Bonza has suffered from a setback; Vietjet, one potential buyer, walked away from talks. The second creditor’s meeting will be held in the coming weeks and a vote about the company’s future is expected.

The Sunshine Coast-based airline abruptly canceled its fight operations and entered voluntary administration, leaving thousands of passengers stranded across the country. It came after AIP, the aircraft lessor, terminated leases.

Two Leased Aircraft Left Australia

Earlier, Hall Chadwick fell short of reaching an agreement with AIP allowing the aircraft to operate again.

Bonza owned a fleet of five Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft carrying 186 passengers with every jet featured a nickname. But two aircraft, Bruce and Bazza, were repossessed by AIP Capital and left the country. Bruce is expected to be leased to Flair Airlines, a low-cost airline in Canada.

“The administrators have regretfully been advised that the lessors will continue to enforce their rights under the termination notices and, subject to their own requirements and arrangements, seek to reposition the fleet elsewhere,” Hall Chadwick said.

Bonza launched in January 2023 and committed to bringing more new domestic destinations across the country. The no-frills airline is best known for providing flights to regional destinations not operated by other Australian carriers.

Pete Ainsley

Author

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