BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ROYAL Brunei Airlines (RB) announced that it will start daily direct flights between Brunei and London Heathrow beginning October 28 this year.
This means that flight passengers bound for London via Brunei will no longer have to transit to Dubai; and those boarding via Melbourne will only have one transit destination before reaching their destination. The move, said RB CEO Karam Chand, was a natural thing to do, following the strong cultural, political and economic ties that have already been long established between the two countries.
Moreover, as RB had conducted numerous studies on the feasibility of the direct flights before, it was only a matter of time before the national airline can start a direct air link with the UK, which will be the first time after about 30 years since the first air link was established.
Following this, RB will be ceasing its Dubai-London route starting October 28, but will begin offering four trips per week between Brunei and Dubai in its bid to continue providing a vital link with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Starting the direct link between Brunei and UK was another move taken by RB to further facilitate Brunei’s tourism sector; now opening up more possibilities of having visitors from UK and other parts of Europe. RB, said Chand, continues to play a very significant role in helping Brunei to develop its tourism sector.
“Brunei’s airline market is very small, and as you generally see, there are not many new airlines coming here; so we feel that it is our duty, as the national airlines to take the lead and help the market to develop,” he said.
“And this role may also include to open up possibilities and potential for all of the stakeholders in the ecosystem – the hotels, restaurants, travel agencies – to have a significant value added to them, which will help them grow and become competitive,”
“And in turn, they will then play a more significant role in developing the market,” he added.
While waiting for the commencement of the direct flights, what RB is doing now, said Chand, is to really shape its Dreamliner aircrafts to really take into account the needs of its customers. This, includes the fleet designs that could reduce noise and elevate comfort for passengers, said the CEO.
“We will be looking at how we can have the best in-flight services; starting with providing 1,000 entertainment options which may be useful for the approximately 14 hours long haul,” he said.
“We will make sure the product will match customer expectation,” he added.