Bonza's Unique Distribution Strategy
Also in today's newsletter: United says January and February weren't as hot as expected. And Carsten Spohr throws shade at IAG for its loyalty strategy.
As a skeptic, I think every new idea is a bad idea. That's not a great mentality to have in business or investing, but it serves me well in covering airlines, as most new entrants fail. Optimism is the enemy in this business.
So when I learned that, as part of Aviation Festival Singapore, I would be interviewing Carly Povey, chief commercial officer of the new Australian airline Bonza, I was not bullish. Bonza wants to leverage a market gap by flying to underserved airports. But how long will they remain underserved? At some point, Qantas probably could crush it by shifting some Jetstar airplanes from big cities into Bonza’s markets. I also wonder how solid Bonza’s financing is, and how secure its airplanes are. It is backed by the same American investors (a Miami firm called 777 Partners) that is behind Canada’s Flair Airlines. In a wild story, Flair lost four airplanes over the weekend after a lessor seized them, accusing Flair of not paying its bills.
I’m still not convinced Bonza will make it, though I commend it for its cheeky swimwear — those branded men's swimsuits the Aussies call “budgie smugglers” that Bonza sells on board.
Fun marketing aside, Bonza is doing one thing that is even more unusual — something other airlines eventually could copy, even if Bonza doesn’t make it.
Unlike almost any airline in the world, a passenger cannot buy a ticket on this airline's website. Why? And how does this work?