An Australian airline startup is set to launch in October and the name of its first Boeing 737 Max couldn’t be more Australian.
Bonza, the country’s only independent low-cost airline, will soon take to the skies with “Shazza,” the name given to its first plane, which recently landed at Sunshine Coast Airport.
Earlier this month, the airline asked Australians for help choosing a nickname for the plane and, of course, received a slew of suggestions.
Some suggested “Sunny”, short for Sunshine Coast, “Purple Rippa”, “Sunny Boy”, in reference to the popular blocks of ice. There was also “Digger”, a nod to the strength and determination of the Australian spirit.
“Steve” was also suggested in memory of Sunshine Coast legend Steve Irwin.
But there could only be one winner with Shazza receiving the most likes.
“Australians love nicknames and you gave us lots of suggestions when we asked for your help naming the plane,” read a Facebook post from Bonza on Wednesday.
“So today, we are pleased to announce that the name of our newest purple beauty is… Shazza!
“It doesn’t get more Australian than that.”
No, it really doesn’t.
The airline’s social media sites were bombarded with hundreds of comments from Australians praising the nickname.
“I love it! Can’t wait to fly Shazza! Yeah let’s have Magda Szubanski at launch!!!” one person suggested referring to actor Sharon’s character in the hit sitcom kath and kim.
“I love it. Especially since it’s my name,” wrote a woman named Sharon.
“Do we all get a free flight, like naming rights?” asked another Sharon.
“Kazza loves the name Shazza,” Karen wrote.
But not all were fans.
“Please no, this country is already bogan enough without encouraging it!” one person wrote.
“For all those who scoff at the name, I’m sure you’ll be happy to fly with them if their airfares are half what everyone else charges,” another added.
The name will be printed on the first Boeing 737 MAX in the Bonza fleet, registered as VH-UJT.
LOT Polish Airlines was originally set to adopt the aircraft, but never did so. Instead, the estimated three-year-old plane was delivered to Bonza last month, according to the aviation news site. single flight.
Bonza will be the first low-cost airline launched after the bankruptcy of Tiger Airways Australia, serving secondary or regional airports.
It will focus on underutilized leisure market routes that are not too dominated by competitors, offering very low airfares, without exclusive features such as frequent flyer programs and lounge access to further differentiate itself from other airlines.
By offering rates similar to those of Jetstar, the launch of Bonza could disrupt the domestic air travel situation within the country, according to single flight.
Late last year, Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan said he expects to typically charge $50 for a basic seat on a short route like Sunshine Coast to Coffs Harbor and between $75 and $100 for longer runs like Melbourne to Sunshine Coast.
Finder travel expert Angus Kidman told news.com.au that he hopes when Bonza takes to the skies later this year, it will offer an introductory sale with many routes for $99 or less for one-way tickets.
“Getting less than $100 is good sales psychology,” Kidman said.
“And it could go much lower just to get attention with a handful of seats under $40, but I don’t expect those fares to be the norm in the long run at all.”
Kidman said he hopes Qantas will launch more sales of its own (for both itself and Jetstar) to counteract any “Bonza effect”.
“I also hope it continues to expand to more regional airports,” he said.
Qantas has added 52 regional routes since the pandemic began, with Broken Hill being the most recent addition.
“The competition is great and I will definitely be trying out some of the cheaper and more unusual Bonza routes at launch. But I’ll be fine paying $99 more often than $19,” he said.
The new low-cost airline will offer 8kg of free hand luggage, which is slightly more generous than rival Jetstar’s 7kg, but you’ll have to take out more luggage and choose a seat.
“Plus Bonza is operating a maximum of five flights a week between any two destinations, so it won’t appeal to business travelers who want a quick work trip. It’s also not flying any service yet to Sydney, Australia’s largest city,” Kidman said.
The Sunshine Coast, a popular tourist hotspot near the seaside towns of Noosa and Mooloolaba, will feature 12 of Bonza’s first 25 routes, while Melbourne Airport will have eight routes.