Aussies Hit With More Bad Christmas News After Airline Cancels all Flights Along Busy Route
By Freddy Pawle and Eliza Mcphee
– Airline cans yet another flightpath before holidays
– Hundreds of affected passengers offered refunds
Embattled airline Bonza has cancelled flights on another major route, forcing passengers to rapidly make alternative travel plans.
Australia’s newest budget airline announced in August that they would start conducting flights between the Gold Coast and Avalon airport between Melbourne and Geelong before Christmas.
The airline’s first flight on the route was supposed to take off on Tuesday, however it has since been indefinitely delayed with the move affecting hundreds of passengers.
The airline said aircraft unavailability caused the delay and have started offering affected customers full refunds.
Bonza’s operations in the Gold Coast have been handicapped this holiday season, after last week cancelling flights to and from Darwin throughout December.
The airline was launched in February with the promise of providing unique flightpaths across the country.
However Bonza CEO Tim Jordan said the airline had been weighed down by regulatory processes, airplane availability and staff shortages while trying to create a new base of operations in the Gold Coast.
‘This arrangement brings with it a separate regulatory approval process,’ Mr Jordan said in a statement.
‘That process is progressing but is not yet complete and, as a result, we’ve had to make the regrettable decision to defer some routes to/from the Gold Coast including Avalon.’
He said the airline’s priority was to get in contact with affected customers as soon as possible so they can make alternative travel plans and receive a full refund.
A total of 439 customers have already been offered a refund.
The airline is ‘working through’ issues keeping flights on the route grounded, however there is no timeline for when it will be operational.
Around 1,100 customers affected by the Darwin-Gold Coast cancellations have now been offered flights to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast instead, while those no longer able to make the trip have been offered refunds.
Many customers have since aired their grievances online.
‘I’m at least 1K down because of these clowns,’ one person wrote on social media.
‘Do they want to reimburse us the accommodation and transport arrangements that now have to be cancelled? I bet not!’ said another.
‘I’m now out of pocket LOTS of extra money because I’m booking with other airlines at last minute prices. If they’d let me known earlier I would have been able to get cheaper replacement flights.’
Bonza’s flights between Darwin and the Gold Coast are expected to be running in January.
Bonza is backed by Miami-based private equity group, 777 Partners, which also owns Canadian budget airline Flair.