Travellers stranded as Australian budget airline Bonza enters administration

The low-cost airline only launched last January

Natalie Wilson
Tuesday 30 April 2024 12:20 BST
Qantas and Virgin Australia have each extended support to displaced Bonza passengers
Qantas and Virgin Australia have each extended support to displaced Bonza passengers (Getty Images)

Australian airline Bonza has “temporarily suspended” all flights after abruptly entering voluntary administration on Tuesday (30 April).

The financial turmoil has left thousands of passengers stranded around Australia as flights were unexpectedly cancelled on all 36 Bonza routes.

Bonza said in a statement: “Bonza has temporarily suspended services due to be operated today (Tuesday 30th April), as discussions are currently underway regarding the ongoing viability of the business.

“We apologise to our customers who are impacted by this and we’re working as quickly as possible to determine a way forward that ensures there is ongoing competition in the Australian domestic aviation market.”

Bonza, the first budget airline to launch in Australia since 2007, took off for domestic destinations from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in January 2023.

Melbourne, Port Macquarie, Cairns and the Whitsunday Coast are all served by the low-cost carrier.

The airline’s fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes was grounded and reportedly repossessed by creditors, according to local media.

Leaders of the Australian aviation industry – Qantas and Virgin Australia – have both offered support to stranded Bonza customers.

“For any customers with a cancelled Bonza flight on a route we operate, to make sure you’re not further out of pocket, you can fly with us at no cost where we have seats available,” said Qantas in a statement.

An emergency help hotline has also been set up for passengers booked on cancelled flights by the federal transport department.

Michael Kaine, the Transport Workers Union national secretary, told The Guardian“This is an extremely distressing time for workers and stranded passengers. Bonza must ensure staff are prioritised and informed as this process plays out.”

Documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission outlined that Hall Chadwick will act as the airline’s voluntary administrator for its operating and holding company.

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