There was plenty of excitement at Bundaberg Regional Airport last week when Bonza touched down from Melbourne, with local families and new residents taking advantage of the very first direct flight.
Earlier this year the airline announced the Bundaberg Region as part of its new route rollout and last Tuesday, Bonza's first passengers arrived from the big smoke.
Tessa Brillante met her son and Melbourne Victory football star Josh Brillante at the arrival gates to welcome him back for a quick visit to his hometown.
Usually, the local family are only able to reunite every so often, with the football season and the lack of flights making catch ups difficult.
“This is such a special day because Bonza are starting up which means it is now so much easier for us to make the trip down to Melbourne to see my son,” Tessa said.
“We only get to see him when the (football) season ends, so it is hard… but because there is now a direct flight available from Bundaberg to Melbourne, we will have so much more opportunity to catch up with him and the whole family.
“It is also such an exciting thing for Bundaberg to have another airline available in the region.”
Josh said the new Bonza route would mean the world of difference to his family and would allow his parents to see more of their granddaughter.
“I have a little daughter now and it's hard for them to see her,” he said.
“Obviously, with the games throughout the season, it's not easy to go back and forth but having this direct flight will make it so much better.
“I think it's great that there's this opportunity for other people to go direct from a small town to a big city.”
Local farm Hillwood Berries was also eager to welcome arrivals off the first Melbourne to Bundaberg flight, with 30 seasonal workers on board to relocate to the region.
The company's Robin Dornauf said the launch of Bonza in Bundaberg had come at the perfect time.
“We have seasonal workers coming from Tasmania to move here and we are also having a senior management board meeting up here,” he said.
“It will be fantastic for the region's economy, it is a long time overdue I think.”
Bonza's new route from Melbourne to Bundaberg will be operating twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Sundays, with fares starting from $89 per person (one way).
Last week's milestone was part of the largest route roll out in Australia’s aviation history as Bonza continues to get wheels up on 27 routes to 17 destinations.