Bonza is unlikely to get its fleet of seized Boeing 737 Max 8 jets back from lessor AIP Capital, adding to the embattled low-cost carrier’s woes as its suspension of operations is extended for another week. 

In a statement issued 7 May, the airline’s administrators – financial services provider Hall Chadwick – said the lessor “will continue to enforce their rights under the termination notices” and that it will “seek to reposition” the fleet of four 737 Max jets “elsewhere”. 

Bonza VH-UJT

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bonza operated Boeing 737 Max 8s but these have been seized by the jets’ lessor

The latest development now means Bonza’s grounding will be extended through 14 May, states Hall Chadwick, which is working with law firm Norton Rose Fulbright on the matter. All Bonza staff will be stood down during the period, they add. 

“Notwithstanding this‚ the administrators are reviewing all available options to allow the resumption of the company’s operations. They will continue in their efforts through various discussions with interested parties‚ potential investors‚ and other airlines,” the statement continues. 

Bonza abruptly suspended operations on 30 April hours after receiving notice of lease termination, a move that called into question its viability and financial health. 

Subsequently, administrators said all operations were suspended through 2 May while urgent discussions between “key stakeholders” took place. 

Launched in January 2023, Bonza’s business model eschewed going head to head with larger rivals on Australia’s most competitive routes. Instead, the LCC operated mainly on secondary routes unserved by other carriers. 

Following Bonza’s collapse, compatriots Qantas and Virgin Australia have provided assistance to stranded customers. The matter has also attracted concern from the Australian government, which has stood up a helpline for affected customers. 

Meanwhile, Australia’s consumer watchdog has expressed concern that Bonza’s collapse will impact competition in the country’s aviation sector. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had on several occasions welcomed the entry of Bonza into a sector that is dominated by flag carrier Qantas. 

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb is quoted in local media reports as saying that the commission “is keen to see stronger competitive forces in the airline sector”.