Budget airline Bonza announces new flight routes between the Northern Territory and Queensland, Victoria

Budget airline Bonza announces new flight routes between the Northern Territory and Queensland, Victoria
  • PublishedSeptember 20, 2023

Budget airline Bonza has announced it will begin flying three routes in and out of the Northern Territory from the end of November, as it promises to bring more competition to an expensive market.

The airline will begin flights between Darwin and the Sunshine Coast and Darwin and the Gold Coast, and between Alice Springs and Melbourne, starting from late November. 

Together, the new flights will add another 12 flights into and out of of the territory each week, and 116,000 more airline seats each year.

NT Tourism Minister Nicole Manison said the new routes would help “drive a bit of competition” among existing players in the NT aviation market and offer flyers cheaper fares.

“We need to have these services at a competitive price, because territorians deserve to be able to go visit family, to be able to go do business, to go and see other parts of this country, at a fair price for them,” she said.

She credited an NT government scheme designed to attract more airlines to the territory for the new routes, saying it had paid off. 

Baggage carousels, digital ads, screens, and large fans in an airport terminal building.
Two of the new routes will be between Darwin and Queensland.(ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne)

Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan said he hoped the airline would cause some disruption among existing players in the NT aviation market.

“Bonza’s DNA is about creating market growth, giving everybody no matter where you live the same opportunities to connect with friends and family, and to bring new tourism into locations where perhaps, at the moment because of airfares, it is just out of reach for many many people,” he said.

Alice Springs tourism body welcomes new flights

Bonza’s announcement comes at a time of significant dissatisfaction towards the NT’s aviation sector, from the territory tourism industry and wider community.

Less than two weeks ago, Qantas announced it would reduce flights from Alice Springs to Sydney and Melbourne, prompting a rebuke from Ms Manison at now-former chief executive Alan Joyce.

A man wearing glasses with blue and white checked shirt leaning against a wall.
Mr Rochford says Central Australia is under-served by existing airlines.(Supplied: Danial Rochford)

Tourism Central Australia chief executive Danial Rochford welcomed the announcement of another airline servicing Alice Springs with direct routes and cheaper airfares to Melbourne.

“Tourism Central Australia have been long advocating for the need for greater competition and with this announcement, we’ll certainly see that super-charged,” he said.

“We’re hopeful for more positive news in the future.”

He said a range of flight options was key for improving the livability of Alice Springs.

“Cheaper airfares is such an important thing for the liveability of our community,” he said.


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