View Sibu Heritage Centre in the morning. This is where handicrafts are sold, including old banknotes, and used postal stamps. – Image: Shutterstock

Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) is set to expand its wings across Borneo with Malindo Air through its new regional service ‘RB Link’ flights.

Under the project, RB will first serve cities Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Balikpapan, Tawau, Sandakan, Sibu and Bintulu, while looking at more potential routes, using two new ATR 72-600 aircrafts. 

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah, who is also Chairman of RB Board of Directors said that the RB is working to have the first flights by end of July with the new aircrafts deployed on existing routes Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. 

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr. Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah (C), Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Chairman of RB Board of Directors, Karam Chand (2nd R), RB Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sujatmiko (2nd L), Ambassador of Indonesia to Brunei during the official launch of RB Link in conjunction with the launching ceremony of Brunei-Brisbane services at the Collaboration Hub in RB Campus on 10/07/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“In the second phase and planned to start in the fourth quarter of 2019, RB will start linking the other five new destinations to Brunei and our global network, making travel easier and more affordable than ever across Borneo,” said the minister.

The short-haul flights which are under two hours are best conducted with the advanced turbo-prop aircrafts that are designed to suit regional markets.

“The regional aircraft operation will be a key enabler of increased tourism, trade and movement of people within BIMP-EAGA and will further strengthen Brunei’s economic ties with the many cities of Borneo,” he added.

He also said that the national carrier’s investment in developing air traffic in BIMP-EAGA also shows the commitment of Brunei to contribute to regional development and allows the movement of people between the different cities in Bornean island.

The ATR 72-600 will be operated by Malindo Air and cabin crew trained to RB’s service standards and initially overseen by RB cabin crew.

Some of the RB products and services that guests can enjoy on board the flight operated by Malindo Air for RB Link flights. Source: RB website

The aircraft in white livery is configured in all economy 72 seats layout where guests onboard will get to enjoy RB’s signature service, food and drinks for flights over one hour, Muhibah in-flight magazine and usage of personal electronic devices for entertainment.

The baggage allowance for each guest is 15 kilogrammes while connecting guest’s baggage allowance will be determined by the fare they purchased.

“Booking and travel experience remains seamless and guests can expect the same high level of guest service. The inflight product is adapted to regional flying of short sectors with drinks and snacks on offer for the longer sectors,” said Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin.

On his part, Chief Executive Officer of Malindo Air Chandran Rama said that the airline is honoured to work on this leasing plan with RB.

“The opportunity to collaborate with an esteemed national carrier from our neighbouring country means a lot to us, as I believe it is a testament to the reliability of our operations, in terms of crew’s eminence and aircraft maintenance,” he said.

He added: “It will be a privilege for us to support a renowned airline as Royal Brunei Airline in enhancing connectivity within Borneo, as we foresee a boost of passengers’ arrival to Malaysia’s airports. The expected business and tourist traffic hereafter will be in line with Malaysian government’s agenda to enhance the national economic trend.”

Also present at the launch ceremony held at Collaboration Hub of RB Campus were Ambassador of Indonesia to Brunei Dr Sujatmiko, RB Board of Directors, senior government officials, management of RB and Darussalam Assets along with other RB staff.

This article was first published on July 13, 2019 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 45

The Bruneian


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