The collapse of Bonza Airlines sends shockwaves through the Sunshine Coast community

On 30 April 2024, Bonza Airlines went into voluntary administration, after the leases on its aircraft were cancelled by the US investment firm that had funded the venture, after only 18 months in operation.

The announcement sent ripples through the Sunshine Coast economy, with significant implications for the region's tourism, employment, and local businesses. Bonza Airlines, a major low-cost carrier, had been instrumental in driving tourism, by providing affordable travel options for Australians in regional areas wanting to visit popular holiday destinations, or for locals to visit loved ones in underserved regions.

It is understood that by mid-May the airline's debts tallied more than $116 million, including $77 million in loans, $16 million owed to trade creditors, $10.5 million to airports, $4.6 million to the plane lessors, $5.3 million in employee wages and entitlements, and $58,000 to customers for cancelled flights.

Economic Impact on Tourism

Bonza Airlines had established itself as a key player in promoting tourism on the Sunshine Coast. With its extensive network of domestic routes, the airline facilitated the influx of tourists from various parts of Australia, contributing to the growth of the local tourism sector.

At the launch of the airline, Sunshine Coast Airport estimated that Bonza's routes would deliver an additional 772,000 seats into the region and annual visitor spend of some $86 million.

The liquidation of Bonza Airlines is expected to lead to a substantial decrease in tourist arrivals, adversely affecting hotels, restaurants, and attractions that rely heavily on visitor spending.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford, expressed concern, stating, "The loss of Bonza Airlines is a significant blow to our tourism industry. We anticipate a notable decline in tourist numbers, which will impact local businesses and the broader economy."


The closure of Bonza Airlines has resulted in the immediate loss of hundreds of jobs, both directly within the airline and indirectly across the tourism and hospitality sectors. Additionally, many local businesses that provided services to Bonza Airlines, such as catering, maintenance, and logistics, are now facing an uncertain future.

The airline employed a considerable number of residents in various roles, from flight crew to ground staff.

More than 300 staff are now owed more than six weeks, and remain stood down without pay, and can't accept other jobs without risking their entitlements.

Local Businesses

Several Sunshine Coast enterprises had secured lucrative on-board partnerships with Bonza, with those revenue streams evaporating overnight.

Just four weeks prior, Tim Jordan, Bonza CEO, had been proudly celebrating the partnerships with local food and drink producers from the Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson, commented, "Our community is feeling the impact of Bonza Airlines' liquidation. We are committed to supporting affected workers and businesses during this challenging time and are exploring options to attract new airlines to the region."

Future Outlook and Recovery Efforts

At the first creditors' meeting, creditors were told the company could potentially source other aircraft and resume operations, but that this could take up to four months.

In response to the crisis, local authorities and industry stakeholders are mobilizing efforts to mitigate the economic fallout. Initiatives are being launched to attract new airlines to fill the void left by Bonza Airlines and to promote the Sunshine Coast as a prime tourist destination. The Sunshine Coast Airport is also working on enhancing its infrastructure and services to attract more carriers and increase connectivity.

On 27 May, The Federal Court granted Bonza administrators a two-month extension to find a solution for the distressed airline. The court heard talks were still underway with two potential buyers and the negotiation of a sale agreement could take two to three weeks.

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