Bonza: Number of customer caught up in airline collapse revealed

Over 60,000 customers have been left out of pocket following the collapse of budget airline Bonza, a court has heard.

The company entered voluntary administration last week, less than 18 months after launching its first flights.

Accountancy firm Hall Chadwick has been appointed as administrators, with the first meeting of creditors scheduled to be held on Friday.

A court heard on Tuesday that the company had over 60,000 creditors – including 323 employees who were owed wages and annual leave and 120 trade creditors.

There were a further 57,933 customers who had bookings with the company, barrister James Hutton SC, who is acting for the administrators, told the Federal Court on Tuesday morning.

“Here we have a potential for 60-odd thousand creditors,” Mr Hutton said.

“And of that we gave email notification yesterday … and as at this morning over 41,000 people had opened up those emails.”

The court heard it was estimated that upwards of 20,000 creditors could seek to take part in the creditors’ meeting and the administrators were working through the practicalities including how a poll could be taken.

As well, it’s unclear where the creditors were concentrated, but it was estimated that they were based around the regional routes where the airline operated.

“It is very difficult to see how 20,000-odd people could ever be accommodated in a physical meeting, that would require a stadium,” Mr Hutton told Justice Elizabeth Cheeseman.

As well, Mr Hutton told the court that the administrators were not in possession of the six aircraft which made up the Bonza fleet.

The planes were leased while the airline was operating and the lessor had terminated its agreement with Bonza before it entered administration.

“The company does not have access to any of the six aircraft which it was presently using,” Mr Hutton said.

The court heard that the aircraft were located at airports around Australia, including Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, and the lessor intended to return them overseas.

Leave a Comment