Bonza’s planes fly off as customers, workers in lurch

Alex Mitchell |

Bonza’s lessors are enforcing their rights and have begun moving their fleet of planes overseas.
Bonza’s lessors are enforcing their rights and have begun moving their fleet of planes overseas.

Bonza’s fleet of planes has begun to be removed from Australia before the airline’s financial crisis is laid bare at a creditors’ meeting.

The embattled budget carrier, which was back in Federal Court on Thursday morning ahead of the first meeting on Friday, appointed administrators after the lease agreement for its planes was terminated.

The first of those planes – a Boeing 737 Max 8 – flew out from Sunshine Coast Airport shortly after 9am on Thursday destined for Honolulu.

Bonza said on Tuesday its lessors were enforcing their rights and were repossessing the planes intending to reposition them overseas.

The airline said it had argued to keep its fleet and use the planes in the short term.

Without planes, Bonza has cancelled all flights until May 15 and will not compensate any customer left out of pocket.

Lawyers for administrators Hall Chadwick were in court finalising Friday’s meeting, where creditors – including about 58,000 customers left out of pocket – will be updated on the airline’s dire financial state.

Barrister James Hutton SC said administrators had received almost 9000 emails from potential creditors and about 2000 had provided proof of debts.

Many of the issues raised by Justice Elizabeth Cheeseman in an earlier court hearing had been sorted out by the administrators, including the ability for creditors to ask questions.

Friday’s meeting is set to take place via Zoom.

More than 300 Bonza employees, who are also in line to become creditors, remain stood down.

The administrators previously said insufficient cashflow and funding stopped Bonza from operating but the reclaiming of the planes, forcing the sudden cancellation of flights, was unexpected.

AAP