Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Bye-Bye Bonza, SAS Reaches for the SkyTeam

Cranky Weekly Review

Bonza Goes Belly Up

Bonza, an LCC in Australia that began flying last January, died a quiet death earlier this week. The airline is survived by the eight aircraft in its fleet which were repossessed, several hundred employees, and thousands of stranded travelers across Australia. Neither Qantas or Virgin Australia could be reached for comment as spokespeople for both carriers were laughing in-between telling reporters “I told you so.”

Qantas and Virgin Australia — which account for 95% of the domestic market (a number that just went up by a little bit) offered assistance to anyone stranded by Bonza — provided they had a working credit card.

The carrier had been the first new entrant into the Australian market since 2007, which, it turns out was for good reason. It chose a leisure focus amongst its routes, and chose not to compete with the big two or Rex between major cities and business centers, but it ended up not mattering in the end.

SAS to Join SkyTeam on September 1

We knew SAS would leave Star Alliance on August 31, but we didn’t know when it would join SkyTeam — until now. Concerns that the carrier would drift in an alliance-less stupor for days or weeks during a transition period were greatly exaggerated after it was announced SAS would formally join SkyTeam at the stroke of midnight September 1.

It’s expected to be a comprehensive transition for the carrier, meaning immediate chances for customers to earn and burn miles, have their baggage mishandled on a multi-airline itinerary, and have lounge agents mistakenly deny entry as soon as day one. After joining the alliance, SAS is expected to join the transatlantic JV, but that will take government approval and won’t happen right away.

The carrier will keep its EuroBonus program for now, but as Air France-KLM continues to grow its investment in the airline, the possibility exists for it to eventually transition to Flying Blue. Delta proposed SAS use SkyMiles as its mileage currency, but the carrier declined, saying its computers didn’t have the ability to “count that high.”

Spirit Adds in Dallas, Detroit

Spirit is going right at both American and Delta with its latest route additions, adding service in Americans largest hub in Dallas/Fort Worth and Delta’s second largest in Detroit.

From DFW, Spirit will battle AA on five routes — Columbus (4x weekly), Kansas City (4x weekly), Memphis (3x weekly), Milwaukee (3x weekly), and San Antonio (2x weekly). While AA is the only carrier currently operating any of these five, Southwest operates to all five from its hub across town at Dallas/Love — making Spirit the third entrant on all five from the Metroplex.

In Detroit, Spirit will go against Delta on three new destinations: Charleston (4x weekly), Kansas City (3x weekly), and Nashville (daily). Delta is the only current carrier flying between Detroit and either Charleston or Kansas City, while both Delta and Southwest currently fly DTW – Nashville.

All eight new routes begin July 10 or 11, and introductory fares start at $0.99, but do come with a mandatory $199 new route fee.

SkyWest Calls Out DOT

SkyWest Charter has gone to court to force the DOT to rule on its application to begin scheduled passenger ops, deciding that 19 months is long enough to wait to hear back from the government.

Before turning to the legal system, SkyWest was repeatedly told by the DOT that they were experiencing unusually high call volume, and that all applications were being handled in the order in which they were received — but at some point around the one year mark, SkyWest leadership began to question the recording. SkyWest Charter first applied to fly its CRJ200 fleet to 25 underserved routes in October 2022 but has not yet heard back.

The suit was filed in a Utah federal court where the St. George-based carrier hopes to move the process along more quickly with the backing of the courts. When asked to comment on the legal action, the DOT said that it was experiencing very high call volume and would get back to us in the order in which the request for comment was received.

Avelo Opens Sonoma Base, Doubles Presence

Avelo Airlines likes the sweet, sweet, smell of wine country, as the carrier has now opened its previously-announced aircraft base — its 6th — at Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California, adding four new destinations from the airport.

The cities receiving service are Boise, Pasco, Kalispell, and Salem, complementing the four existing destinations for Avelo from STS — Bend, Burbank, Las Vegas, and Palm Springs. With its new base at the airport, Avelo has hired 32 STS-based staff, with that number expected to climb to 50 before the end of the calendar year.

  • Aer Lingus resumed flying to Minneapolis/St Paul this week, restoring its pre-pandemic North American network.
  • Air Canada is walking back its new policy of charging seat selection fees for some fares.
  • Air Europa‘s takeover by Iberia hit a roadblock.
  • Air France-KLM is freezing some hiring to attempt to rein in spiraling costs after it posted a $523 million loss in Q1.
  • Air Greenland secured a $39 million loan.
  • Air India extended its suspension of service to Tel Aviv through May 15.
  • BermudAir is getting in the crypto game, which is always a sign of success.
  • China Southern had a Q1 profit.
  • Delta will be adding SkyWest CRJ550s to its regional fleet, believed to be for EAS flying.
  • Emirates resumed service to Cambodia.
  • Frontier‘s new network strategy is expected to pay off soon, according to Frontier.
  • Frost Air received an AOC to expand from Sweden into Denmark.
  • Go First is expecting to be liquidated.
  • Hawaiian wants you to get lei’d.
  • JAL would like the yen to improve.
  • Kenya Airways is suspending service to the Congo.
  • LATAM revealed its new dream economy cabin.
  • Oman Air has named a man as its new CEO.
  • PAL Airlines has its eye south of the border.
  • PLAY named Arnar Már Magnússon as its new deputy CEO.
  • Qantas said its app malfunctioning this week was the result of a bad upgrade, not Bonza trying to take the rest of the market down with it.
  • Saudia flew nearly 20% more passengers in Q1 this year compared to last.
  • SWISS turned a profit of about $33 million during Q1.
  • Transavia took delivery of its first A321neo that it owns all by it grown up self.
  • Uganda Airlines is purchasing four Boeing aircraft.

Did you know it’s impossible to move your lips while smiling?

That’s not actually true, but at least you’re smiling now.

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9 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Bye-Bye Bonza, SAS Reaches for the SkyTeam

  1. Spirit is making a lot of poor network choices. I get the need to diversify away from some of its core leisure markets, but DFW- CMH/MCI/MEM/MKE and SAT just isn’t going to work. DTW-CHS and BNA could be interesting. I’d like to see them focus on a city they can build out some breadth in. PDX comes to mind as an underserved opportunity.

  2. > Delta will be adding SkyWest CRJ550s to its regional fleet, believed to be for EAS flying.

    I always was under the impression that the CRJ550 is just a reconfigured CRJ700 invented by UA, but looking at Wikipedia it seems to be an actual type from the manufacturer.

    1. They are reconfigured 700s and not built new, but reconfigured and recertified (I think) by the manufacturer Bombardier, not United or another airline.

  3. When UA rolled out CRJ-550, our friend Tim commented “The net-net is more RJs w/ premium cabins but at a much higher cost which is why UA’s CRJ550 strategy is a significant step backwards in terms of regional system profitability compared to AA and DL.” Just want to check if DL’s move to introduce CRJ-550 is also a step backwards or the next best thing in aviation.

    1. I’m sure there’s some nit picky difference between the UA 550 and Delta’s that will enable “our friend” to explain it all away.

  4. For Bonza, it’s partly due to their business model to not compete in big market but actually they wanted to fly into and out of Sydney but guess who’s the bully in Sydney…yeah probably Qantas had a lot to do to prevent Bonza from getting slots. I always felt that early on, if Bonza does not gain entry into Sydney, it’ll be over soon.

    1. Oh please airlines can easily get slots to fly into sydney if they want to, it just won’t be at desirable times.

      Seeinf how poorly the airline was managed SYD slots would not have made a difference.

  5. I noted the comments about Bonza, and its demise. Having retired to sunny Malta, from drizzly Seattle five years ago, I picked up the very catchy habit of watching world football (soccer to you). Now I never miss a City game on the tube (just a fiver per month). But, the sinking of Bonza created quite a stir in Europe. 777 Partners, owner of Bonza, was the choice to buy The Everett FC club, of the PL. Deal was about to close, albeit it was taking longer than expected. Now we know why. Could very well not close. And Everton, one of the oldest teams in English football, could now very well end up bankrupt. How’s that for the butterfly theory?

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