Coffs community Not Happy, Bonza

Bonza flies in, then flies out – the Coffs-Sunshine Coast route launched on 20 April and will cease on 1 August. At the April launch at Coffs Harbour Airport: Coffs Harbour Airport general manager Frank Mondello, Simone and Tim Jordan from Bonza, Kylie Ezzy, Sunshine Coast Airport/Coffs Harbour Airport and Natalia Cowley, Coffs Harbour general manager.

LOW-COST carrier Bonza has cut its Coffs Harbour to Sunshine Coast route, citing lack of demand.

Bonza launched the route three months ago, landing in Coffs Harbour from the Sunshine Coast for the first time on 20 April to much celebration in the city.

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Coffs Coast locals took to various Facebook pages, some to express their disappointment, others taking a philosophical stance about Bonza’s move.

Sawtellian, Alan Freedman, a member of the local Rotary Club was one of them.

“I’m not surprised that Bonza didn’t do well to the Sunshine Coast leaving Coffs Harbour at 8.15pm which was far too late if you intend going further,” he said.

“Obviously regional routes are not successful with such a large plane.

“How about Coffs to Melbourne where Qantas has a monopoly and can charge what they want?”

Jill Delaney who lives in Toormina had booked flights with Bonza.

“I’m so disappointed in the closure of the Coffs Harbour to Maroochydore Sunshine Coast Airport.

“My daughter and grandson live up there and it’s been great to be able to see them more often, and at an affordable price.

“Bonza’s ticket price was $80 return compared with $450 return Coffs to Brisbane with Qantas.

“I’m not disappointed in Bonza themselves, the Coffs Coast has lacked an affordable airline for some time now.

“As we no longer have Virgin or Tiger it’s back to long drives for a lot of us,” said Jill.

“My daughter is cranky at Bonza as I was flying up again on August 3 for her birthday.”

Tim Jordan, Bonza chief executive, said Bonza was grateful to the Coffs community, but the company couldn’t make money on the Sunshine Coast route.

“Unfortunately, the demand for the Sunshine Coast service was not sustainable with average load factors about 36 percent,” he said.

“We have some flights on our network where 186 seats are consistently full, so for the long-term success of Bonza, we must follow that demand.

“We will continue to have conversations with the team at Coffs Harbour Airport, as we do with all airports, to help support our mission to connect more of regional Australia than ever before.”

On Thursday 13 July Bonza published an open letter to customers on its social media channels announcing changes to its route map and timetable, noting the chop for the Coffs connection.

The letter says five routes: Sunshine Coast to Coffs Harbour, Sunshine Coast to Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast to Tamworth, Cairns to Mackay and Toowoomba Wellcamp to Whitsunday Coast, will be removed from the airline’s initial route map, while other routes will have their frequencies reduced.

The changes come into effect from 1 August 2023.

The airline said it would communicate with customers booked on impacted routes, from 1 August to 28 October, via SMS and customers will automatically receive a full refund or alternate flights with Bonza.


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