Bonza: Australian budget airlines loses chief operating officer, still plans cheap flights

Turbulence for budget airline Bonza as a top exec suddenly quits his post before launch…

Turbulence for budget airline Bonza as a top exec suddenly quits his post before launch – but the carrier is still planning to sell cheap tickets in weeks

  • Fresh new Aussie airline’s exec leaves after just seven months with the company
  • Speculation brews on whether delays will halt Bonza’s launch into stratosphere 
  • Bonza plans to hit the Aussie regional market unfrequented by other big airlines

Low cost airline Bonza has hit turbulence in the wake of a top executive’s recent sudden departure. 

The budget airline was unveiled late last year with plans to compete with Virgin and Jetstar and will fly 25 routes via Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast – but not Sydney.  

The company’s co-founder and former chief operating officer Peter McNally parted ways with the budding air passenger carrier in Februrary after just seven months.

His departure raised eyebrows on whether Bonza will be able to survive the highly competitive airline industry. 

Bonza plans to fly to regional areas largely outside of the pathways taken by the other airlines

A Bonza spokeswoman confirmed to the Australian Financial Review that they had parted ways and thanked Mr McNally for his service.

But they downplayed speculation that his exit would cause delays for the newcomer to the Aussie flight market. 

‘He leaves behind a very capable team who have been, and will continue to be, leading our regulatory application process,’ the spokeswoman said.

Mr McNally was given the top job in October last year and has extensive airline experience behind him, with stints with Qatar Airways and India’s Indigo airline. 

He was also a part of the Virgin Blue’s early management team. 

His departure came as the airline announced they would fly to 16 new destinations along 25 routes around the nation. 

Flights with the budget airline are expected to go on sale in May and they will focus on routes not normally flown by the major players of Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar.  

Bonza downplayed suggestions Mr McNally's exit would cause delays with the airline's launch

Bonza downplayed suggestions Mr McNally’s exit would cause delays with the airline’s launch

Destinations will include Albury, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gladstone, Mackay, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast and Townsville. 

Bonza CEO Tim Jordan promised ‘ultra-low fares’ for people who needed to fly to regional centres.

‘Since announcing Bonza to the world late last year, we’ve always said we wouldn’t just fly between Australia’s three largest cities,’ he said. 

‘And instead give people in the regions more choice.  From our two bases on the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne, we will give Aussies more options at ultra-low fares to explore their own backyard.’  Mr Jordan said.