When Bonza Airlines finally takes off, passengers looking for refreshment will get to pick between a Your Mates Larry, a non-alc from Heaps Normal or a lager from either Ballistic Beer or Spinifex.
Bonza made the announcement and unveiled their menu at Your Mates Brewery’s Sunshine Coast home earlier today, with the airline saying they were the first carrier to stock food and drinks sourced entirely from Australia.
As well as being welcome news for many travellers, Your Mates' marketing manager Rob Naylor says it's a big deal for the brewery and the Sunshine Coast too.
“We’re absolutely wrapped, it’s such a cool thing,” Rob says. “They've gone to great lengths to go for Australian only and the majority of it is Sunny Coast-based brands.
“It’s just a great initiative and we’re really happy to be a part of growing the Sunny Coast and getting those local flavours out there.”
The new airline’s head office is on the Sunshine Coast and has been planning to launch its first flights for some time but is still waiting for regulatory approval. The airline says it will initially fly to 17 different destinations and that 93 percent of their flight routes aren’t currently being served by any airline.
Rob says the flights to and from Your Mates' own region is part of what makes this news so exciting.
“It just makes life so much easier for people when they come to the Sunny Coast too,” he says.
Rob adds that it's not the only way the Bonza brand fits well with Your Mates either, given their planes are named, Shazza, Bazza and Sheila. It’s the kind of larrikinism the brewery’s built much of its appeal around, so Rob says working together has been really natural.
“It’s just awesome, you can have a Lazza on Sheila,” he adds with a laugh.
But while Bonza might be a low-cost airline, their food and drink offering doesn't look particularly cheap. As well as the beers mentioned above, Bonza will also be serving Melbourne’s excellent Chappy chips, cold drip coffee from Groundskeeper Willie and a snag in a bag (OK, we’re not entirely sure if this is “premium” but apparently it’s as close as you can get to a sausage sizzle in the air). The airline is also getting rid of meal trolleys, with customers instead able to order from their seats and have their food delivered.
“They’re taking a really unique view of it," Rob says, "they’re a budget airline but what they’re doing isn’t budget.
“We just had a taste of the rest of the menu and it’s all top-quality stuff. Plus there’s to your seat service, how much more premium does that feel?”
In a media statement, Bonza’s Chief Commerical Officer, Carly Povey, said that by working with small and medium-sized businesses, they could help those operations reach new markets, with the full menu the same on all its routes.
“Our all Aussie menu is something we are very proud of,” Carly said in a media statement. “Going all Aussie means we are supporting local businesses and their suppliers.”
It’s a mindset that Rob hopes might take hold in other spots in the sky too.
“Let's have more Australian and premium brands on airlines and give people an experience that they really enjoy.”