One of the Airbus A320neo during RB’s launching ceremony of the Airbus A320neo fleet at hangar 3 of the Brunei International Airport in September. Image: RIdhwan Kamarulzaman

Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) has officially relaunched its direct flights to Beijing, aiming to increase the capital city’s flight frequency daily by January next year in conjunction with the Chinese New Year.

In a launch ceremony held at Li Gong Restaurant recently, RB’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Captain Saiful Bahrin Bahar revealed that RB is one of a few international airlines chosen to operate at the new state-of-the-art Beijing Daxing International Airport.

“This is an important city to capital city link that has been missing in our route network,” he said in a speech.

Royal Brunei Airline’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Captain Saiful Bahrin Bahar delivering a speech during RB’s launch of direct flights to Beijing China. Image: Wardi Wasil

Since RB’s first flight to Beijing 1993, its recommencement has become an important milestone for the national flag carrier.

“We are pleased (that) we can make the seamless and direct connection possible with the new technology A320NEO aircraft,” he continued, adding that the current four times weekly flights are key for RB to expand its footprint in China.

The acting CEO added that with China being one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, the Beijing flights represent a huge growth opportunity for the sultanate as the non-stop service will serve government, corporate and leisure guests who have been anticipating the direct link.

Students from Chung Hua Middle School entertaining guests with a performance during Royal Brunei Airline’s (RB) launch of direct flights to Beijing. Image: Wardi Wasil

“The two capitals will be seamlessly connected by RB services and significantly cut down travel times, costs and inconveniences of traveling via other airports”.

With RB’s sights set on daily flights to Beijing slated for next year, Captain Saiful Bahrin said that it was a timely initiative given that both countries will be celebrating the Brunei-China Tourism Year in 2020.

“In addition to RB’s direct routes to a number of Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Haikou, Nanning, Hangzhou and Changsha, the daily flight from Beijing will elevate tourist arrivals greatly”.

Source: RB’s Instagram

He then urged Brunei tourism and trade stakeholders to take advantage of the Brunei-China Tourism Year to promote the sultanate in order to position Brunei positively in the minds of millions of potential Chinese visitors.

China is the number one tourism source market for Brunei, having seen a 21 per cent jump to 61,653 tourist arrivals into the sultanate by air last year.

“The reintroduction of Beijing flights supports our network development and builds on the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries”.

The famous Tiananmen Square – Entrance to Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Image: Shutterstock

Beijing is currently the national airline’s 26th international destination and RB is aiming for 30 international destinations by the end of the year through the RB Link initiative as well as codeshares with major international airlines.

The first flight to Beijing was on Sunday and its arrival at the Beijing Daxing International Airport was greeted with a water cannon salute and a welcoming ceremony.

Present at the event as the guest of honour was Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong, along with special guests Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II cum Chairman of RB Board of Directors YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib and Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy to Brunei Ning Bo.

(L-R) Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy to Brunei Ning Bo, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II cum Chairman of RB Board of Directors YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications YB Dato Seri Setia Abd Mutalib, RB’s Acting CEO Captain Saiful Bahrin Bahar launching RB’s direct flights to Beijing, China. Image: Wardi Wasil

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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