A new Australian budget airline is hoping that playing up to traditional Aussie stereotypes will appeal to flyers with plans to sell skimpy branded budgey smuggler men’s swimwear on its low-cost flights, its founder and chief executive told an aviation conference in Sydney on Tuesday.
Tim Jordan, chief executive of Bonza Airlines, showed off a prototype of the purple Speedo-type swimwear that feature the airline’s thumbs up logo emblazoned across the back. Jordan didn’t, however, model the swimwear which could go on sale as early as the second quarter of 2022.
Backed by Miami-based private investment firm 777 Partners, the budget airline hopes to take on dominant domestic carrier Qantas, as well as the rebooted Virgin Australia and smaller rival Regional Express.
Bonza, itself a stereotypical Australian term that means ‘first rate’ or ‘excellent’, will launch with two or three Boeing 737MAX aircraft early next year but Jordan hopes to have eight aircraft flying by the end of 2022. The plans are still subject to regulatory approval.
So far, Bonza hasn’t even announced where it will be based although the airline says it intends to base itself in a regional location either in New South Wales (home of Qantas) or Queensland (where Virgin Australia is based).
Jordan believes that Australia’s lack of low cost carriers has held back the country’s tourism market (notwithstanding pandemic border closures) and believes Bonza can create new markets by flying between underserved airports.
The airline has approached a number of airports in a bid to win incentives that will allow them to open up routes as cheaply as possible. Analysts have questioned Bonza’s business plan, especially its intention to operate relatively large aircraft on routes that existing Australian airlines would use a turboprop for.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has scoffed at Bonza’s business plan.
Bonza’s fleet will be leased from 777 Partners which announced a deal with Boeing on Monday for an additional 68 737 MAX aircraft. The investment firm is also the driving force between Canadian low-cost carrier Flair Airlines.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.