Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has approved an application by Bonza (AB, Sunshine Coast) to two wet-lease in B737-8s over the Southern Hemisphere 2023/24 summer, rebooting the LCC's plans to turn Gold Coast Coolangatta into a major network hub.

Bonza was forced to cancel hundreds of flights after bringing the first aircraft to Australia and prematurely rolling out a raft of new routes from their new Gold Coast Coolangatta base because it [failed to secure]( the necessary regulation approvals. The cancellations, at the start of the summer school holiday period, have caused widespread disruptions and severely damaged the startup's reputation. Bonza had sourced the aircraft from Canada's Flair Airlines (F8, Kelowna). 777 Partners has equity interests in both carriers.

CASA confirmed the approvals on December 19, 2023, after Bonza demonstrated how it would safely integrate the Canadian-registered aircraft and its crew members into its operation. "The Flair flights will be conducted under Bonza's air operator's certificate," a CASA spokesperson said.

Both Flair B737-8s are now at Gold Coast Coolangatta Airport after the second aircraft, C-FLHI (msn 61804), ferried in on December 15. The first 737-8, C-FLKC (msn 61807), flew to Australia in early November ahead of the planned mid-November debut of operations from that airport. However, with CASA approvals not yet given, the plane has sat idle. Bonza was due to launch 14 new routes from Gold Coast Coolangatta, but was forced to defer many and use local wet-leased aircraft to cover others.

"We're really sorry and we'll learn from this and do better," said Bonza CEO Tim Jordan.

While CASA was unconcerned about Flair's safety record, the airline did not hold Australian approvals. The agency says Bonza needed to demonstrate the Canadian aircraft and crews' integration into their safety management program and operations. No authorisations to fly were possible before that was done. "An agreement was signed between CASA and Transport Canada outlining the responsibilities of each safety authority with regard to the Flair aircraft and crews," the CASA spokesperson said.

Under the original plans, Gold Coast Coolangatta Airport would have seen 84 Bonza aircraft movements per week by the first week of January, handling up to 15,500 passengers. "Now we have approval for the two additional aircraft, we're scaling up our operations," said Jordan.

Bonza's two wet-leased aircraft will complement their four dry-leased B737-8s. From its Gold Coast Coolangatta, Sunshine Coast, and Melbourne Tullamarine bases, the LCC operates a total of 38 routes to 21 destinations. The majority of routes are not served by any other airline.