Bonza offers free flights for ‘local legends’

An artist’s impression of a 737 MAX in Bonza livery.

Budget start-up carrier Bonza is on the lookout for “local legends” at each of its 17 initial destinations, offering up free tickets on its first ever flights to Melbourne.

The airline said it will crown one “Bonza Local Legend” at each of its destinations, who will win a free trip on its first Melbourne flight for themselves and three friends.

To enter the competition, participants need to upload a 30-second video to Facebook or Instagram, to tell other Aussies why they should come visit their location on their next holiday.

According to Bonza, the campaign hopes to increase support for inbound tourism across its initial network of 17 destinations and 27 routes.

Bonza destinations include Albury, Avalon, Bundaberg, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gladstone, Mackay, Melbourne, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Tamworth, Toowoomba Wellcamp, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast.

After securing a ticket on the inaugural Bonza flight to Melbourne, the airline will continue to work with its chosen local legends to “help put their hometown firmly on the map”, as well as taste-test Bonza’s all-Australian menu, try out Bonza’s incoming uniforms, and help choose other community members to be on the first flight.

Bonza’s chief commercial officer Carly Povey said: “We’re an airline for the many and not the few. That’s why we’re calling on locals to share their travel tips and in turn, help fellow Aussies explore their own backyard.

“If you’re a legend, larrikin, personality about town – come forward. We’re looking for big hearts, welcoming arms and people who aren’t shy to give it a go and promote their slice of Allstralia.

“We are about creating new markets for Australia’s domestic tourism industry with a particular focus on regional locations,” she added.

“We’re an airline for teachers, tradies, kids and carers and we want to reflect that in the way we spotlight the many incredible destinations on our route map.”

It comes after Bonza earlier this month hinted that its mid-year launch plans could be delayed until at least September, in an open letter to future travellers.

The airline confirmed that it now has a date set for the delivery of its first 737 MAX jet – a key step in its Air Operator Certificate application process – in the coming months, however this date is “slightly later than first expected”, hence the delay in its intended launch.

Penned by Povey, the letter informs travellers that they “shouldn’t wait” for Bonza’s launch in order to “lock in [their] essential July and August travel plans”.

“Whilst we can’t wait to save you the long car ride or the need to holiday at home, we’d rather be upfront,” she said.

After unveiling its plans to the world in October 2021, Bonza had initially been aiming to launch in Q2 of 2022. Speaking with the Australian Aviation podcast, CEO Tim Jordan later said this goal had been pushed back slightly to “mid-year”, as the airline continued to navigate the AOC process with CASA.

“I know you’re keen to grab your cozzies and gather your rellies all for less than a tank of fuel. So, it’s only fair to give you an update on how we’re tracking. After all, you can’t be called Bonza and not be fair dinkum …” Povey wrote.

“We’re getting closer to take-off, which means we’re getting clearer on potential start dates. Having this locked in is key to going on sale with our first wave of flights.

“If we have more positive news to share sooner, we will,” she added.

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