A B737-8 earmarked for Australian startup Bonza (Sunshine Coast) is instead going to Flair Airlines (F8, Kelowna) to plug a capacity gap there after Airborne Capital recently repossessed four aircraft from the carrier. Private equity entity 777 Partners owns both airlines.

VH-UDV (msn 43973) was to be Bonza's fifth aircraft and serve as a spare, however, the aircraft was recently re-registered as C-FLBG and is now flagged to go to the Canadian budget airline. Bonza says the non-delivery won't impact its rollout, which continues apace and this week included the start of the Melbourne Tullamarine - Rockhampton and Paraparaumu - Sunshine Coast routes. "It’s not uncommon for this to happen as part of fleet planning," a Bonza spokesperson said.

Bonza began flying in February 2023 and says it expects to have eight 777 Partners-supplied aircraft in its fleet within the first 12 months. According to ch-aviation fleets data, 777 Partners has 67 aircraft either placed across five airlines, in storage, or unassigned. Included in that number are thirty-five B787-8s. The entity also has a further thirty-two B737 MAX aircraft on order.

In early March, Airborne Capital repossessed the B737-8s from Flair after that airline allegedly failed to pay its leases in a timely manner over an extended period of time and accrued significant debts. Airborne Capital has commenced remarketing the aircraft and Flair has initiated legal action against the lessor.

Back in Australia, Nine Media is reporting that Richard Howell is stepping down as Bonza's executive chairman. Howell joined the board to look after 777 Partner's interests during Bonza's launch phase. "Now that Bonza is operational, Rick’s focus has shifted to further early-stage aviation innovation projects within the 777 Partners portfolio,” a 777 Partners spokesperson told Nine Media. Those "early-stage aviation innovation projects" are believed to include new airline ventures in Africa and Asia.