Bonza start-up boss departs three months after first flight

Bonza airlines aircraft called Bazza

Australia’s newest airline, Bonza, has waved goodbye to its chairman just three months after the carrier’s first flight.  

Documents filed with the corporate regulator revealed that Rick Howell stepped down from the board of Bonza and private equity holder 777Partners’ Australian holding company in March.  

777Partners says this was always the plan for Howell and that he will now take up a position with the company in Miami.  

“777 Partners is deeply thankful to Rick for his important contribution to the successful launch of Bonza and looks forward to continuing to work with him on global aviation projects,” a spokesperson told Financial Review, continuing: “He has played a key role in laying the foundation for Bonza’s successful operation in Australia.” 

Howell also left 777 Oz Holdco, the firm’s Australian holding company, and has been replaced by investment chief executive Manish Raniga. 

Bonza took off for its first commercial flight on January 31, 2023, with the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX carrying passengers between Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY) and Proserpine Whitsunday Coast Airport (PPP).   

Currently, the airline owns three Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, with six more scheduled to arrive shortly, according to data. 

The airline claims that 93% of its routes are not served by any other airline, while 96% are not served by a low-cost carrier.   

Bonza recently celebrated selling 100,000 tickets on its network of 17 destinations and 27 routes over the Easter weekend. 

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