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Not dead yet: Bonza backers in 11th hour talks to bring budget carrier back

Hundreds of workers for embattled airline Bonza will remain stood down for at least another two weeks.

May 15, 2024, updated May 15, 2024
Bonza has cancelled flights across the country as it temporarily suspends operations.(Josh Dye, ABC Sunshine Coast)

Bonza has cancelled flights across the country as it temporarily suspends operations.(Josh Dye, ABC Sunshine Coast)

Administrators on Tuesday told more than 300 staff members the suspension of flights would continue until May 29.

Talks are continuing, with parties reportedly interested in bailing out the cash-strapped airline, which owes about $110 million.

The talks have been held with about 20 interested groups, including airlines and companies from the travel industry, administrator Richard Albarran, from Hall Chadwick, told a creditors’ meeting on Friday.

A timeline on any sale of the company was due to be set out at the weekend but the deadline for expressions of interest was extended to Thursday.

The extent of the low-cost airline’s financial woes were laid bare in Sydney on Friday when creditors were told Bonza owed nearly $77 million across two loans, almost $16 million to trade creditors and another $10 million to landlords.

Other debt include more than $5 million in staff wages and annual leave entitlements and $3 million to government authorities such as the Australian Taxation Office.

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said it was a deeply distressing time for workers facing two more weeks off the job after receiving no pay since March.

While administrators are still attempting to revive the airline, the union says it has been in contact with the federal government, which is establishing a fast-track program for Bonza workers who need to access government support services should the airline not be rescued.

“After years of privatisation, corporate greed and aggressive market dominance, we need to stabilise aviation through independent oversight,” Mr Kaine said.

“We need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to return good, secure jobs and service standards to our airports.”

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