RB representative Rory Lou Teo (C) along with other representatives from Sandakan, officiating the inaugural flight to Sandakan city. Image: RB

Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) marked another milestone with the launch of its inaugural flight to Sandakan city.

The sultanate’s flight carrier sent its first flight to the new RB Link Destination on Monday, which was welcomed by a water cannon salute at Sandakan Airport by 2.35pm the same day.

Vice President of Government and International Relations Rory Lou Teo said RB is proud to be the first international airline to fly to Sandakan.

“The Malaysian state of Sabah is already one of our most popular destinations with double daily flights to Kota Kinabalu from Brunei, our hub airport and connections from our international network.”

“(Therefore), we are delighted to introduce Sandakan as our next destination city in Phase one of the RB Link regional initiative connecting cities within Borneo Island.”

Teo said Sandakan will not only benefit from the affordable fairs and excellent service from RB but will additionally have connections to international markets such as China, Japan, UK and Australia – offering great tourism and export opportunities.

The flights operated by Malindo Air using the ATR 72-600 aircraft will operate six flights a week.

“More flights are possible with market growth and strong local support in Sandakan,” says Teo.

From January to August this year, Sandakan Airport recorded a 12 per cent increase in passenger movements compared to 2018, according to Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad, Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin.

“With this new international route for Sandakan, it will further intensify the growing demand between these two destinations.”

“I am confident that the airline is poised to capitalize on the demand of both leisure and business traffic for this sector and subsequently contribute to Sabah’s overall development,” he added.

RB Link flights to Sandakan will operate six times weekly with one flight daily from Fridays to Wednesdays. Image: RB

Noredah Othman, General Manager of Sabah Tourism Board said the newly linked flights to Sandakan will additionally allow better ease for Bruneians to explore the East Coast of Sabah.

“Bruneians are already frequent visitors to Sabah; mainly in the areas of Kota Kinabalu, Ranau and Kota Belud.”

“Besides being beneficial to the local community of Brunei, the RB Link seamless booking is a great enhancement to connectivity from long haul destinations such as the UK and Australia to Sandakan.”

She added that the recent connectivity is timely as Sandakan will be commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Sandakan Death Marches in August 2020.

“We would like to encourage more British and Australians to gather here in remembrance of this history.”

General Manager of Sabah Tourism Teo Chee Kim believes that better flight connections is key to develop Sandakan’s tourism industry further – marking the arrival of the RB link a breakthrough for the city.

“All tourism stakeholders (here) should seize this opportunity to promote and market Sandakan to Brunei and beyond, especially to the European and Australian market.”

RB Link flights to Sandakan will operate six times weekly with one flight daily from Fridays to Wednesdays.

The celebration was attended by guest of honour, Yang Berhormat Vivian Wong Shir Yee, Member of Parliament Sandakan.

The event was hosted by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad in partnership with Sabah Tourism Board and Sandakan Tourism association attended by invited guests and members of the media.

New destination cities to Bintulu will fly five times weekly from November 5; Tawau daily on Wednesdays through Mondays from November 11 and Sibu flying twice on Saturdays, plus once a day on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from November 14.

RB and Sandakan representatives posing for a picture during the inaugural trip to Sandakan. Image: RB

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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