Bonza’s second 737 MAX has touched down in Australia as the airline revealed it will be named Bazza.
Australian Aviation broke the news on Thursday that the aircraft was en route to Australia, and on Saturday morning also revealed it had quietly registered a third MAX.
The developments present more evidence that the airline believes it’s close to achieving clearance from the safety regulator to launch.
The business was hoping to begin operations last month but is unable to do so until it receives the crucial Air Operators Certificate.
Bonza confirmed its second aircraft, VH-UIK, will be called ‘Bazza’ after its first, VH-UJT, was named ‘Shazza’. The names were chosen in an online poll.
Bazza departed Nadi on Saturday at 7:33am and landed on the Sunshine Coast at 9:19am.
“We are thrilled to welcome Bazza to Bonza’s backyard – Sunshine Coast Airport. He will join Shazza as the second aircraft in our fleet,” said Carly Povey, chief commercial officer at Bonza.
“With the help of our future customers and our local legend ambassadors, we’ve named our fleet with some very Aussie nicknames. The true blue names have given each plane their own personalities and our team of legends affectionately refer to the first two as Shazza and Bazza.
“We’re now getting prepared to welcome our third aircraft and next week, we’ll be calling out on our social channels for Aussies to vote for their favourite name.”
Bonza initially planned to launch with a fleet of two to three MAXs before increasing its ambitions to target having eight.
Nonetheless, a fleet of three, which are all now acquired and registered in Australia, would be enough for it to begin operating some of its planned 27 routes in a staggered start.
When Bonza does begin commercial operations, it will fly so-called ‘point-to-point’ leisure services not serviced by the capital city-focused Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, and Rex.
Bonza said 93 per cent of its network — 25 out of its 27 routes — are not currently flown by any other airline, while 96 per cent are not served by any other low-cost carrier. Flights are expected to cost around $50 for each hour of the flight.
Destinations on Bonza’s initial route map include Melbourne, Avalon, Sunshine Coast, Mildura, Albury, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Mackay, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Tamworth, Townsville, Whitsunday Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, and Toowoomba.
Australian Aviation has been charting Bonza’s progress with a series of exclusive stories.
Last month, we published exclusive photos that showed two more of its 737 MAXs were being painted in its purple livery at the Victorville desert ‘boneyard’.
Eagle-eyed photographer Nic Hope captured the image, below, from the storage facility, which included a two-year-old narrow-body registered as SP-LVN.
The aircraft appeared to be originally operated by LOT Polish Airlines, which also ran Bonza’s first 737.
Bonza’s launch is waiting on it obtaining the Air Operators Certificate, and the airline in May hired Virgin Australia’s former GM of operations planning to lead the negotiations.
The business said Young’s remit would also include flight and cabin crew, engineering, ground services, and on-time performance.
He’ll also be helping lead the recruitment of 200 cabin crew and pilots.
The appointment of a big hitter will be seen as a coup, given his six years in a similar position at Virgin and Tiger.