BONZA, Australia’s only independent low-cost carrier, together with Mildura Airport have announced a historic partnership that will see five new flights each week on two new routes.

The news is part of what was described as the largest announcement in Australia’s aviation history as Bonza revealed its route map, airport bases, head office location and all-digital approach.

From July, subject to regulatory approval, Bonza will operate three times per week from Mildura to Melbourne Airport and twice weekly to the Sunshine Coast using their fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Mildura Airport chairman Peter O’Donnell said that it was great news for Mildura and the airport.

“It shows that Bonza has great confidence in Mildura and what we offer to the travellers of Australia,” he said.

“The idea that we are now connected to another state and particularly another wonderful holiday destination like the Sunshine Coast, we are super excited about this.

“A direct flight to Queensland has always been on our radar and we are very pleased that our community can now connect directly to Queensland.

“Having the whole Queensland connection combined with our Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Broken Hill routes, we now have connections across the whole of the eastern seaboard, which is really important.

“We look forward to exploring further route development opportunities with Bonza as the airline and our partnership grows.”

Mildura Mayor Liam Wood was at the airport this week to meet with Mr O’Donnell and Mr Willcock to express his and council’s delight with the Bonza announcement.

“It’s fantastic news and it’s good to see that it’s going both ways,” he said.

“The thing that I am really excited about is to see people coming to our region as well as locals being able to get away to a different destination like the Sunshine Coast is amazing.

“It’s really about bringing people to Mildura and our region who may have never been here before. I think having the competition in the market will help reduce the cost of flying which for people travelling for medical reasons will be welcome because that is an expensive exercise − competition is healthy.”

Mildura Rural City Council acting CEO Martin Hawson said the announcement builds confidence in the fact that Mildura has a regional airport that can attract another carrier like Bonza.

“The fact that we are the only regional airport in Victoria that has the capacity to do that, really\ says something,” he said.

“In addition to the extra connection with Melbourne, which we have had for sometime, to be able to open up to go to Queensland, I think will be a game-changer for those leaving and coming into our region and it will really make a big economic impact. We are opening it up to a whole new market that can easily get here in a cost effective way, which is amazing and congratulations to the airport for negotiating this deal.”

The perfect picture has formed at the airport with the installation of the ILS, the extension of the main runway and a first class terminal, laying the ground work for such a move, which as the airport emerges from COVID and the schedules begin to return to peak levels, signals well for the future.

“The confidence shown in the airport is evident and with council investing in the airport together with state and federal governments, this is now paying dividends and we really need their support to keep this vital service operating,” Mr Hawson added.

“This is a really good announcement in the midst of COVID and hopefully we have turned the corner and we can get the economy back up and running.” Mildura Airport CEO Trevor Willcock said that flights are expected to commence mid-year.

“Once the booking app is up and running, people will be able to book flights,” he said.

“Bonza have said their fares are going to be very competitive.”

It has been reported that the average cost for a one hour flight on Bonza could be as low as $50, which would be the approximate travel time from Mildura to Melbourne.

Bonza is encouraging people to download the app ‘Fly Bonza’ on the Apple App Store or Googl Play now and keep an eye out for updates as new functions are added.

Flights are due to go on sale within the next eight weeks, pending regulatory approval.

Bonza CCO Carly Povey said in October last year that Bonza was taking to Australian skies and they promised not to fly the golden triangle between Australia’s three largest cities.

“Today, we deliver on that promise by giving more choice to people living in regional areas,” Ms Povey said.

“With two new routes directly in and out of Mildura Airport, we will be delivering on our promise to give Aussies more options for leisure travel. Not only will the flights open up new markets for the region’s tourism industry, locals will have the opportunity to explore their own backyard with ultra-low fares.”

BONZA MOVE: Mildura Rural City Council acting CEO Martin Hawson, Mildura Mayor Liam Wood, Mildura Airport chairman Peter O’Donnell and airport CEO Trevor Willcock celebrate following the announcement that Bonza Airlines were set to commence flights into Mildura from July.