The founder of a new domestic airline says most of its planned routes aren’t usually available and customers will benefit from lower fares.
The new airline called Bonza is aiming to start flying early next year and is targeted at people travelling to regional destinations.
Former Virgin Blue executive Tim Jordan is leading the venture and has gained substantial financial backing from US investment firm 777 Partners.
The firm has stakes in Canadian airline Flair and the Asian group of budget carriers Value Alliance.
“Our mission is to bring more low fares to more destinations,” Mr Jordan said.
“We expect more than half of our routes not to be flown by other operators.”
Routes are yet to be confirmed. However Bonza will not contest popular capital city ones dominated by current airlines, such as between Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Instead, Mr Jordan claimed Bonza could serve and generate more demand for regional flights.
The most notable difference for customers on board will be the planes – new Boeing 737-8s.
“You’re likely to be flying on a larger aircraft than is flown by the incumbents,” Mr Jordan said.
Customers will also have to pay for food service and any checked baggage. These measures will help Bonza compete on cost.
The company will have its headquarters in either northern NSW or southeast Queensland.
Locations being considered include Ballina, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, the Gold Coast, Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast and Tweed Heads. There was also talk of direct routes such as Perth to Byron Bay or Broome to Adelaide.
Bonza earlier included other states in talks about the location of its headquarters.
However they failed to offer the ease of setup needed.
“We don’t need someone to validate our business plan,” Mr Jordan said.
“No-one knows aviation better than our investment partners and ourselves.”
The Bonza head office team will comprise about 100 people.
The airline will need workers to operate the flights and Mr Jordan expects the Bonza workforce will be several hundred people next year.
He said the company website had received hundreds of applications on Tuesday.
The airline is likely to hire former Qantas and Virgin staff let go during the pandemic.
This had helped the timing of Bonza’s entry to the market.
“The teams of professional aviators we’re looking for would not have been there two years ago,” Mr Jordan said.
“They would have been working elsewhere overseas or domestically.”
Each plane Bonza adds to its fleet will require about 50 workers. The size of the fleet is still to be decided.
Bonza planes will have white and purple livery.