Regional Queenslanders will have more options for air travel after new low-cost domestic airline Bonza revealed it will offer 25 routes between 16 destinations across the eastern seaboard.
The carrier will offer flights between Albury, Avalon, Bundaberg, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gladstone, Mackay, Melbourne, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba Wellcamp, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast.
Tickets will go on sale within two weeks and the first flight could be in mid-2022, subject to regulatory approval.
Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport will see eight new flights each week on three new routes. Bonza will operate four flights per week to Melbourne, two per week to Townsville and twice weekly to the Whitsundays Coast.
Wagner Corporation chairman John Wagner said they were looking forward to seeing friends and family reunite in their airport and more Australians exploring the Darling Downs and beyond.
"Whether its flying in to visit the wonderful Darling Downs, for a quick getaway to the Whitsundays or heading to an event in Melbourne, these new low-cost flights will allow for more options to and from our region," Mr Wagner said.
Rockhampton Airport will introduce 11 new flights each week on four new routes. Bonza will operate three flights per week from Rockhampton to the Sunshine Coast, three times weekly to Townsville and also Melbourne. In addition, there will be two direct flights per week to Cairns.
Rockhampton Airport councillor and Deputy Mayor Neil Fisher said the benefits from the new venture would have a great impact on its tourism industry and local businesses.
"Our region has been longing for a low-cost carrier and very soon, Bonza will deliver with ultra-low fares to exciting new destinations," Mr Fisher said.
Bundaberg will offer a twice-weekly direct flight to Melbourne Airport.
Townsville Airport will provide nine new flights each week on three new routes. Bonza will operate four flights per week from Townsville to the Sunshine Coast, three per week to Rockhampton and twice weekly to Toowoomba Wellcamp.
Cairns Airport will see nine new non-stop flights each week on three new routes. Bonza will operate five non-stop flights per week to the Sunshine Coast, two flights per week to Rockhampton and twice weekly to Mackay.
Mackay Airport will see seven new flights each week on three new routes. Bonza will operate three flights per week from Mackay to the Sunshine Coast, twice weekly to both Melbourne and Cairns.
Gladstone Airport will offer a twice weekly direct flight to Melbourne Airport.
Whitsunday Coast Airport will provide seven new flights each week on three new routes. Bonza will operate three flights per week to Sunshine Coast, twice weekly to Newcastle and twice weekly to Toowoomba Wellcamp.
Sunshine Coast Airport will operate 37 flights per week on 12 new routes to destinations in Queensland, Victoria and NSW.
Bonza CEO Tim Jordan, a former Virgin Blue executive, said the carrier wanted to attract regional travellers rather than compete with current airlines on capital city routes.
Mr Jordan said Bonza would make it easier for travellers to get from region to region without needing to layover in capital cities.
"With destinations ranging from Albury to the Whitsundays, travellers will now be able to fly, instead of impossibly long road trips as well as fly direct without a stopover in a major city," Mr Jordan said.
"Aussies can look forward to enjoying more time at their destination and spending less of their hard earned cash getting there in the first place."
Mr Jordan said 20 of Bonza's 25 routes were not offered by other airlines, and all but one of the 16 destinations were not served by low-cost carriers.
Bonza will be based at Sunshine Coast Airport, with a secondary base in Melbourne, and its routes will be serviced by five 737 MAX aircraft which seat 138-204 people.
Want daily news highlights delivered to your inbox? Sign up to the Queensland Country Life newsletter below.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.