February 1, 2023 | By Bronwen Largier

The first flight from Bonza, a new low-cost Australian airline, took off from the Sunshine Coast yesterday, bound for the Whitsundays.

The launch of the carrier marks a new era in regional connectivity, with most flights connecting regional areas. However, when Melbourne Airport becomes a Bonza port in the near future, it could be a game changer for destinations like the Sunshine Coast and Mackay, which have well-developed business events infrastructure and an interest in attracting a share of the meetings and events market.

Once Melbourne joins the Bonza network, there will be four flights a week between Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast and two flights per week between Melbourne and Mackay. For Mackay it will be the first direct interstate air connection. Flights between Mackay and the Sunshine Coast will connect these two destinations for the first time too.

Once all its currently scheduled destinations join the network, Bonza will fly 27 routes across 17 different destinations. Ninety three per cent of Bonza’s initial routes are not currently directly linked by air via any other carrier.

The Sunshine Coast, which scored Bonza’s headquarters, sets to gain the most from a business events perspective, particularly with its suitability for small and medium sized groups, for conferences, corporate retreats and incentives.

“As the home base for Bonza this is a momentous day for the Sunshine Coast as Australia’s newest low cost airline takes to the skies on their inaugural flight heading to the Whitsundays, making this and other incredible destinations so much more accessible for everyday Australians,” said Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie.

“Bonza’s commencement of services signals a new era for our airport and wider region and over the next 12 months we will see an additional 772,000 seats into the region, which will generate more than $86 million in visitor expenditure.

“Our partnership with Bonza is just the beginning as we look forward to a bright future and bringing even more destinations to our airport that will grow employment and tourism and unlock new market opportunities for business to explore.”