Bonza looks set to begin its first commercial route between the Sunshine Coast and Whitsundays by the end of January.
It comes after the airline received its crucial licence to fly from CASA on Thursday, ending a six-month wait from its original target to start operations in the middle of last year.
On Friday, Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie appeared to confirm a quick start for the new airline.
“Bonza will now be able to go on sale and commence flights before the month is over,” Brodie said.
“Bonza will initially service 13 destinations directly from Sunshine Coast, 10 of which have never been previously serviced, boosting our airport from the 10th to the 2nd most domestically connected airport in Queensland.”
It comes after Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan said on Thursday he was hoping his airline would take to the skies before the beginning of February and after the business last year confirmed its first route would be between the Sunshine Coast and Whitsunday Coast.
Tickets are set to cost $59 one-way.
CASA CEO Pip Spence said yesterday Bonza went through a “rigorous assessment and validation process” to gain its Air Operators Certificate.
“This is a significant milestone, and we congratulate Bonza on achieving its air operator’s certificate,” Spence said.
“The CASA and Bonza teams worked collaboratively throughout the application to ensure the airline’s operations met Australia’s high aviation safety standards.
“I would especially like to acknowledge Bonza’s willingness to work with us on this complex process.
“All commercial operators in Australia have to go through this process, which considers how the operator will meet the required safety standards.
“Our assessment includes a thorough examination of technical documentation as well as verification and testing.
“The process examines whether the airline has the facilities, processes and appropriately trained personnel to comply with their operations manual.
“It involves conducting assessments of the carrier’s proposed operations, facilities, aircraft and the aerodromes to which they operate to ensure that they meet our safety requirements.
“Australia has one of the safest aviation industries in the world, and travellers should be assured when they get on a Bonza aircraft that the operator has been assessed in detail to ensure it complies with the same safety requirements as other Australian airlines.”
Bonza initially planned to launch with a fleet of two to three MAXs before increasing its ambitions to target eight.
Nonetheless, its current fleet of three is 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.
Premium Content subscribers can read our exclusive look inside the launch of the airline here.