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The future of Bonza appears anything but in the air this morning as flights are cancelled across the country.

The airline’s CEO confirmed discussions were underway as to the viability of the airline in a statement this morning.

“Bonza has temporarily suspended services due to be operated today (Tuesday 30th April), as discussions are currently underway regarding the ongoing viability of the business,”

“We apologise to our customers who are impacted by this and we’re working as quickly as possible to determine a way forward that ensures there is ongoing competition in the Australian domestic aviation marke,” Bonza CEO Tim Jordan said.

Virgin Australia has extended assistance to stranded Bonza travellers.

“We are aware of the temporary suspension of Bonza flights. We will immediately support any passengers stranded mid-journey by offering complimentary seats on Virgin Australia-operated flights to the airport nearest to their final planned Bonza destination,” the airline said in a tweet.

TWU calls for regulatory oversight:

The TWU said the uncertain future of Bonza, stranded passengers and more aviation jobs on the line point to the broader issue of instability in aviation and the need for regulatory oversight.

The TWU is seeking an urgent meeting with Bonza to ensure workers are prioritised at this difficult and uncertain time.

The possible collapse of Bonza comes while Qantas reports $3.72 billion profits over 18 months. The lack of regulation in aviation has enabled the monster market dominance of an airline that has been failing workers, passengers and taxpayers.

Just days after Bonza denied the involvement of advisory firm KordaMentha, nationwide flight cancellations have left passengers and workers in the lurch, while the new budget airline admits it is assessing the viability of the business.

The TWU is calling for a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to oversee and set standards for aviation – a critical industry overrun with aggressive competition and privatised airlines and airports making decisions in the interest of profits over workers and passengers.

The cancellations follow speculation that KordaMentha’s work with Bonza is being led by restructuring partner Sebastian Hams, who has previously worked with Ansett and Virgin Australia – two other Australian airlines that fell victim to aggressive competition.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said:

“This is an extremely distressing time for workers and stranded passengers. Bonza must ensure staff are prioritised and informed as this process plays out.

“Bonza and any other airline attempting to enter the Australian aviation market has little chance of survival. Despite speculation of issues behind the scenes at Bonza, this is an industry dominated by aggressive competition and unchecked corporate greed that will squeeze out any new entrant.

“We’ve seen the collapses of Ansett and Virgin Australia. Even Qantas has gone cap-in-hand to governments and taken wage freezes from workers when market competition has been its own downfall, while hoarding all the profits when the airline is on top.

“Leaving this critical industry ‘up to the market’ as the Morrison Government chose to do only allows Qantas to become more powerful and untouchable.

“We’ve seen thousands upon thousands of skilled, experienced aviation workers leave the industry in recent years. Illegal outsourcing and overzealous redundancies at Qantas, and lack of Morrison government support for a collapsing Virgin Australia and foreign government-owned aviation companies Dnata and SNP Security during the pandemic accelerated the race to the bottom in aviation.

“Aviation is an industry on its knees. Service standards have plummeted while airfares have gone through the roof. Regional jobs and communities are now at further risk of being cut off as a more cost-effective airline struggles to stay in the air.

“We need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to provide independent oversight and set standards for aviation. Australia needs a reliable aviation industry with good, secure jobs at its core. Now is the time to stabilise this industry before more hell breaks loose.”

This story is breaking and will be updated throughout the day.