Bonza’s fate still up in the air but administrators reveal passenger refunds off the table

Bonza’s fate still up in the air but administrators reveal passenger refunds off the table

As discussions continue with the financial backers of embattled budget airline Bonza, among other stakeholders, customers who have bought tickets to fly at least know that a refund is not on the table.

The company’s fleet remains grounded at least until today, with administrators to Bonza revealing that there has been “open dialogue with the lessor” of Bonza’s aircraft.

Alternative investment group AIP Capital – the asset manager of Bonza’s US financial backer 777 Partners - is understood to have moved to repossess Bonza’s aircraft on Tuesday morning, bringing the crisis to a head by Tuesday afternoon.  

Richard Albarran, Kathleen Vouris, Brent Kijurina and Cameron Shaw, of Hall Chadwick, were appointed administrators of Bonza Aviation on 30 April but have revealed little about the financial state of the company.

“The administrators appreciate that this is a difficult time for all involved and that all stakeholders are keen for further information and updates as the matter progresses,” the administrators say in a joint statement.

“To this end the administrators have had meetings … with key industry participants located within Australia and overseas.”

The meetings are expected to continue today.

“We have also today met with the company’s CFO to go through the financial position of the company with a view to updating creditors of that position in due course,” the administrators say.

But in a blow for passengers, many of whom were stranded following the grounding of Bonza aircraft over the past two days, the administrators say they are unlikely to get a refund.

“Unfortunately, the administrators and/or the company are not in a position to process or issue refunds at this time,” the administrators say.

“We understand how frustrating this is and we appreciate customers patience at this time.”

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin picked up the slack where they could since administrators were appointed on Tuesday by offering stranded Bonza passengers free flights to their destinations.

Bonza kicked off services to regional destinations in January last year with the $300 million backing of US-based private equity group 777 Partners, a specialist investor in low-cost aviation carriers and solutions providers including Canada's Flair.

However, the routes chosen by the airline startup – many of them leisure destinations - have proved to be challenging due to their seasonal nature.

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