Staff at Australia’s Bonza lose their jobs

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Launch Bonza Melbourne Airport.
(PHOTO:Tennis Australia/Fiona Hamilton)

Aviation Festival AFA 728 x 90Hundreds of employees of embattled budget airline Bonza have had their employment terminated, according to media reports from Australia. Company administrators invited Bonza employees to a town hall meeting at 10am, the reports said.

Bonza still remains in voluntary administration, meaning employees are not yet entitled to federal government entitlements for unpaid wages. Administrators Hall Chadwick set a deadline of last Friday for potential buyers to submit offers to buy the airline. No offers were received, but Hall Chadwick says it is still possible an offer could occur.

A spokesperson for the administrators told media outlets that a statement would be released on Tuesday afternoon detailing the future of the airline, after staff had been notified.

Bonza launched last year as a low-cost alternative to national carriers such as Qantas and Jetstar, who scrambled to assist passengers stranded by Bonza’s sudden grounding. Hall Chadwick reportedly told a confidential meeting of creditors last week that the sale of the airline was unlikely and that staff were set to be terminated. It comes after the last of Bonza’s leased fleet reportedly left Australia, meaning any potential purchaser would need to acquire additional aircraft, according to media reports.

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Michael Kaine said the lay-offs were “difficult news” for staff left in limbo after the airline’s bankruptcy. “It’s a dark day for regional communities across Australia which remain isolated through unaffordable or unavailable air travel to remain connected with the nation,” he told reporters. “It’s highly likely aviation will lose hundreds more skilled, experienced staff after being burnt so many times in this industry. The pandemic proved the industry unfit to withstand external shocks without workers, passengers and the Australian community paying a heavy price.”

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