Economic turbulence after Bonza Airlines collapse

Economic turbulence after Bonza Airlines collapse

Sunshine Coast Mayor Rosanna Natoli is urging the Queensland Government to address the extensive economic fallout from the sudden collapse of Bonza Airlines. Mayor Natoli has reached out to Premier Steven Miles, seeking a meeting to discuss strategies to mitigate the impacts, which she estimates could exceed $100 million.

Bonza Airlines, Australia's only independent low-cost carrier, commenced operations in January 2023 and had a transformative impact on the Sunshine Coast. With more than 490,000 additional passengers passing through Sunshine Coast Airport, Bonza accounted for over 20% of the airport’s traffic, significantly boosting the local tourism industry.

The airline’s shutdown has left 150 employees, as well as numerous suppliers, service providers, and local businesses in jeopardy. This includes sectors such as cleaning, catering, accommodation, restaurants, retail, car rentals, and various attractions that had thrived on the influx of visitors facilitated by Bonza.

Mayor Natoli highlighted the substantial benefits Bonza brought to the region. "Its presence, along with other major airlines, helped achieve a record number of interstate visitors last year," she said. The airline's connections to previously unlinked destinations across Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, and the Northern Territory brought a wave of tourists directly to the Sunshine Coast, enhancing local business revenues.

The airline's collapse has initiated a chain reaction affecting numerous smaller businesses and local suppliers. "The annual economic impact associated with the loss of Bonza is likely to exceed $100 million and will be felt hard, particularly by the region’s smaller businesses," Mayor Natoli noted. She expressed concern for the many businesses now caught in the lengthy process of recovering their losses alongside 60,000 other creditors.

Mayor Natoli emphasised the broader implications of the closure, pointing out the significant number of indirect jobs affected and the reliance on local suppliers for products sold on board Bonza flights. Despite hopes for a potential revival of the airline, she conceded that the prospects are slim. "Whilst we are hopeful a solution might be found to allow Bonza to resume operations, the likelihood of this outcome now appears remote - which is why we need Queensland Government support now to mitigate the impacts on our community," she stated.

The Mayor’s call to action aims to secure immediate government intervention to support the Sunshine Coast's economy during this challenging period, ensuring that the community can navigate through the turbulence left in Bonza Airlines' wake.