Bonza’s First Boeing 737 MAX 8 Lands In Queensland – Michmutters

Bonza’s First Boeing 737 MAX 8 Lands In Queensland

The fledgling Australian airline has moved towards welcoming its first paying passengers on board. The airline’s first plane, a gleaming Boeing 737 MAX 8, is touching down at Bonza’s Queensland HQ on Monday morning local time. The plane’s arrival marks a milestone for founder Tim Jordan who has always remained resolutely upbeat despite many skeptics suggesting this day would never come.

Bonza’s first MAX 8 hops across the Pacific

Some keen planespotters spied Bonza’s first plane around a month ago, jetting between airports in the western half of the United States, progressively having the final touches applied to its new livery. The 737 MAX 8 was built in later 2019 and initially destined for LOT Polish Airlines but never taken up. Since then, the jet has mostly sat idle. Bonza’s financial backers, the Miami-based 777 Partners, later took the plane up through their own aircraft leasing company. SP-LVO became VH-UJT and swapped a potential home in Warsaw for Queensland’s Maroochydore/Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY).


VH-UJT is due to land mid-morning Monday into MCY as flight AB001 after a series of ferry flights from the US. The MAX 8 flew the final 1,671 miles (2,690 kilometers) from Nadi (NAN) on Monday morning. The final leg followed a flight from Boeing Field (BFI) outside Seattle to Honolulu (HNL) on Friday and a second leg from Honolulu to Nadi on Saturday. Monday’s arrival at MCY also marks the first time a MAX aircraft has landed at that airport.

“We are beyond excited to welcome our first aircraft to Sunshine Coast Airport,” says Bonza’s Tim Jordan. The CEO added that VH-UJT would primarily work as a spare plane, supporting Bonza’s remaining fleet and minimizing disruptions. Bonza is reticent about timelines for its next aircraft arrivals. “More aircraft will follow,” says a statement from the airline.

Bonza is holding onto a late September launch date

Bonza’s first anticipated a mid-year launch date, but that’s been and gone. A few months ago, the airline said September was a more likely start date, so they’ll need to get their skates on aircraft-wise if that’s still to happen. But on Monday, there was a message out of the Bonza camp suggesting a September start date was looking less certain.

“The airline is working towards wheels-up, potentially as soon as late September but noting the regulatory process is one that is highly respected,” says Bonza’s statement. Bonza tells Simple Flying they hope to get their second plane in August and the application for the air operator’s certificate is “progressing well.”

Bonza’s first MAX 8 at Maroochydore/Sunshine Coast Airport on Monday morning. Photo: Heather Mollins/Bonza

Once VH-UJT lands in MCY, it will receive a cabin refit. “It seems only right that we bring home our first aircraft to have its final touches put on by Australians locally,” said Mr Jordan. LOT’s three-class 186-seat 737 MAX 8 configuration is likely too roomy for Bonza’s high seat density, low-cost fare operating model. Bonza will also probably inject a little of its brand color and flavor into the cabin .

Bonza hasn’t named its first plane yet. In a slightly risky strategy for an airline operating MAX 8s, it wants the public to provide naming suggestions on the airline’s social media pages. There have been quite a few examples of such promotions going wildly off-piste in Australia and elsewhere. Knowing Bonza, they’ll probably make a virtue out of the ridiculous, but the potential nicknames for a Boeing 737 MAX 8 at an airline called Bonza might even test the humor of the always smiling Mr Jordan.

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