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Tuesday 30 April 2024

Australian budget airline goes into voluntary administration after flights are grounded

The future of recently launched Australian low-cost airline Bonza is in doubt after it cancelled all its flights this morning and then announced it had gone into voluntary administration.

The company has appointed Hall Chadwick as voluntary administrators, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission said.

Early flights in and out of the budget airline’s base on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast were cancelled on Tuesday, along with routes from Melbourne to Rockhampton, Gladstone and Tamworth.

Last year, only a few months after launching, Bonza slashed several routes from its schedule, citing a lack of "sustainable demand".

Bonza CEO Tim Jordan said all services were “temporarily suspended” in a statement released on Tuesday morning.

Jordan said discussions were being held into the airline’s ongoing viability.

“We apologise to 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,” he said.

Virgin Australia offered free seats to anyone caught out mid-journey by the Bonza groundings, but many Bonza routes are not covered by other airlines.

Bonza launched in early 2023 and has recently been selling seats for as low as $49.

The Financial Review has reported an aviation source suggesting that the airline's creditors have repossessed Bonza’s fleet of Boeing 737-MAX 8 planes.

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