Virgin steps in to save stranded passengers after Bonza cancels all flights


Thousands of passengers have been stranded after regional airline Bonza cancelled flights across the country following rumours of financial turmoil.

Flights in and out of the Sunshine Coast, along with Melbourne legs to Rockhampton, Gladstone and Tamworth were all cancelled, with Bonza CEO Tim Jordan saying it was just a temporary measure.

“Bonza has temporarily suspended services due to be operated today, as discussions are currently under way regarding the ongoing viability of the business,” he said.

“We apologise to our customers who are impacted by this and we’re working as quickly as possible to determine a way forward that ensures there is ongoing competition.”

Virgin Australia immediately said it would offer complimentary seats on its flights for any Bonza passengers looking to get to their destination.

“We will immediately support any passengers stranded mid-journey by offering complimentary seats on Virgin Australia-operated flights to the airport nearest to their final planned Bonza destination,” Virgin said on social media.

The ongoing viability of Bonza has been in doubt following reports the carrier had been in discussions with administrator KordaMentha. There is speculation that Bonza’s backer, Miami-based firm 777 Partners, has had its Boeing planes repossessed.

It has been a bumpy ride for Bonza which has only been in the skies just over a year, marking the first new local airline since Tiger Airways launched 15 years earlier.

Speaking on the Today show, Flight Centre chief executive Graham Turner said the outlook for the airline is not looking good.

“One of the problems with the domestic aviation industry in Australia, two main domestic carriers is all that the market can stand,” he said.