Upstart airline Bonza’s new Gold Coast base is a confident bet on the future

Australia's newest airline launched from the Sunshine Coast in January.

Australia's newest airline launched from the Sunshine Coast in January. Photo: AAP

Budget airline Bonza has announced it is opening a new base in Queensland, which experts believe could give the fledgling airline a solid base to operate from in the future.

The airline’s inaugural flight from the Gold Coast to Townsville took off on Wednesday morning, and new Bonza routes will be introduced out of the airport between now and mid-December.

Bonza flights out of the Gold Coast will be arriving in Albury, Avalon, Bundaberg, Cairns, Darwin, Gladstone, Launceston, Mackay, Melbourne, Mt Isa, Mildura, Rockhampton and the Whitsunday Coast in that time.

“Today is a golden day for domestic tourism as we start connecting more communities in time for Christmas,” Tim Jordan, the CEO of Bonza, said in a press release.

“We know there are so many leisure travellers who will love the chance to take a Bonza flight or holiday to the Gold Coast, but that there are also a lot of people from the Goldie and northern NSW catchments that want the chance to connect with loved ones or explore new places.”

Speaking to The New Daily, UTS senior lecturer in tourism David Beirman said Bonza flying out of the Gold Coast was a step in the right direction for the airline, saying it is a “great base”.

“Not only is it a popular destination domestically, but also there’s an increasing number of international services actually going into the Gold Coast,” he said.

Bonza also has a base in Newcastle in NSW and just like the Gold Coast, in the context of Australian towns, both are pretty big cities that will most likely only continue to grow in the next few years.

This is why Beirman suspects that Bonza is thinking a few years ahead by servicing growing communities outside of the capital cities, which has several benefits to people living in those areas.

Pictured are the Bonza routes out of the Gold Coast

Bonza will operate 14 routes from the Gold Coast.

Bonza is different from other airlines as it flies to regional areas, but without jacking up the price of airfares like other airlines do, Beirman said.

“If you’re the only airline that’s servicing a destination, it’s almost like a signal to charge whatever you can get away with,” Beirman said.

Beirman lives in Tamworth and has travelled to rural parts of Australia. In the past he has paid high amounts for flights, some even costing more than a flight from Sydney to Singapore.

By charging less, Beirman is hopeful that Bonza will continue to gain popularity in Australia and among overseas tourists.

Australians have acquired a taste for exploring their home country since the pandemic and providing regional airfares at an affordable price point opens up many doors.

It also incentivises overseas tourists to visit more remote parts of the country, Beirman said.

“If you can then take loads of low-price domestic routes into various parts of regional Australia from the Gold Coast that really helps not only tourism in regional destinations. Also, it means instead of them being completely dependent on domestic tourism, they will also attract international visitors as well,” Beirman said.

Ultimately, for the consumer, it’s important there is competition within the travel industry and by Bonza forging its own path, other airlines servicing more regional airlines might be forced to lower their prices.

Beirman’s only wish is for Bonza to fly in and out of Sydney, where it has essentially been locked out.

However, in 2026, a new international airport in western Sydney is set to open and it would be another good base for Bonza to set up at, Beirman said.

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