Bonza’s Supporters Are Attempting to Accomplish What Many Have Unsuccessfully Tried Before

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Starting with a real estate appraiser role in Philadelphia, Steve Pasko quickly shifted his career focus to investment banking within mortgage finance. 

Steve Pasko successfully worked his way up the ranks at Deutsche Bank.

Subsequently, SuttonPark Capital emerged to securitise personal injury settlements.

Pasko’s 777 Partners is now the financial force behind the nation’s newest airline, Bonza. This portfolio encompasses entities ranging from South Dakota payday lenders to European football club Sevilla and even a minor video production firm located in an industrial estate in suburban Sydney.

In the airline industry, where budget carriers have a history of poor success and plenty of sceptics, it is only natural to question why Miami financiers would choose to invest in an Australian regional carrier such as Bonza.

Pasko, 74, believes the firm’s background with Canada – where they partially own Flair Airlines – compelled 777 to talk to Bonza CEO Tim Jordan when he presented his ideas for their company in 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, we were able to show that we could grow the Canadian market quite substantially by offering fares that were 40 per cent to 50 per cent lower than the incumbents,” he says.

Despite the scepticism of some within aviation, Bonza is determined to take an unconventional approach and fly from Sunshine Coast to Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Cairns, and Mildura rather than between Australia’s largest cities.

With the end of COVID-19, an influx in travel has led to multiple players entering the market. Toowoomba and Bundaberg have seen a surge in flight schedules as Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Regional Express offer more city routes than ever.

With 777 owning a partial or complete stake in dozens of businesses, such as Bonza, it can take time to identify any commonalities between them and take advantage of their shared ownership.

Last year, the company snatched up Genoa of the Italian second division and almost half of Britain’s Basketball League for €150 million ($236 million). They acquired Red Star – a third-tier French football club renowned as a bastion of left-wing activism – alongside ProbateCash, which offers cash advances against inheritances.

Having [777’s] support helps for sure, and allows us to do a few things we haven’t been able to do before. Hopefully, we can work with them a bit more, and I think that’s the idea. They want to leverage their internal teams off each other.” says Silver Trak chief executive Tim Creswell.

777 has an essential role in Australia’s Melbourne Victory football club of Australia and a set of little businesses like Silver Trak, which transfers overseas Netflix productions for local convenience and VHS recordings into digital format.

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