Former Virgin Australia executive appointed new COO of Bonza

Bonza has hired a new chief operating officer (COO) to guide its negotiations with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA), according to Australian Aviation. 

On May 3, 2022, Bonza appointed former Virgin Australia general manager of operations planning Michael Young, who will lead on the implementation of the carrier’s launch plans, which are currently subject to approval from the CASA, Australian Aviation reported.  

Young will take over duties related to the airline’s safety and operation. Duties will also include flight and cabin crew, engineering, ground services and on-time performance. 

Throughout his 35 years of experience in the aviation industry, Young had played key roles in the management of a number of air carriers. Before joining Bonza, Young spent six years managing operations and planning at Virgin Australia and the now-defunct Australian low-cost carrier, Tiger Airways Australia. Young has also previously worked as chief executive officer at Sydney-based Tasman Cargo Airlines and as COO of Jetstar Japan and Saudi Gulf Airlines. 

Young’s appointment follows the exit of Bonza’s former operating officer and co-founder Peter McNally in March 2022, just five months after McNally was assigned to take a senior executive role tasked with overseeing day-to-day administrative and operational functions. At the time, changes to Bonza’s senior management team sparked speculation that the COO’s exit could lead to a delayed launch. 

However, Bonza is currently showing no signs of postponing its launch, which is due to take place in October 2022.  

Bonza will attempt to compete with the larger and more dominant Australian carriers by offering ultra-low fares for direct services across several destinations in the country. The focus will be on point-to-point travel, rather than flying with a stop in major Australian cities, a business model favored by other Australian airlines.  

The start-up carrier, which was founded in 2021, intends to cut costs by removing features such as airport lounges and frequent-flyer programs that are broadly used by the airline’s existing competitors. With plans to establish its headquarters at Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY), around 90 kilometers (56 miles) away from Brisbane, the carrier aims to hire airline staff furloughed by other airlines during the global COVID-19 pandemic.  

In late March 2022, the start-up carrier launched a recruitment drive to fill 200 flight crew and cabin crew positions. 


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