| James Kon |
TO STAY ahead in the aviation industry, Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) will continue to raise its quality of services by providing better in-flight products and increased connectivity.
Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II and Chairman of RB’s Board of Directors Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah highlighted this in an interview on the sidelines of the event to launch RB Link flights and the resumption of the flag carrier’s direct flights to Brisbane.
“Compared with around 10 years ago, RB is flying to more destinations now,” the minister said. “What is most important is raising the quality of our services with in-flight products and connectivity. The RB Link flights are part of the new strategies in RB’s transformation. We must keep up with sophisticated in-flight products.”
He pointed out that the RB Link flights were introduced as one of RB’s measures to raise its performance.
“Many of the cities in Borneo are underserved by air services or connectivity is offered through mega hubs in the region,” the minister explained. “RB sees this as an opportunity to offer a convenient travel experience with hassle-free, (quick and efficient) transit at Brunei International Airport as a transit hub.”
He added, “In the future we hope travellers will see Brunei Darussalam as a destination for them to spend a few days before heading to their final destinations.”
Meanwhile, RB’s Chief Commercial Officer Martin Aeberli explained about the RB Link flights in a separate interview.
Queried about the reason RB is partnering with Malindo Air of Malaysia, he replied, “For us, it is important to find a partner who has experience in operating regional services between secondary cities (which) usually don’t need Airbus aircraft. We looked around for operators who are familiar with the region and culture and possess the aircraft with the right capacity and came across Malindo Air.
“(For) the last one and a half years, we intensively worked on the concept and fine-tuned it. The last three to four months were really intensive to complete the partnership.”
Aeberli continued, “RB Link flights offer connectivity in Borneo first via Brunei then secondly connectivity via Brunei within Borneo and thirdly, we offer connectivity via Brunei to the world through the RB network. This is a really good alternative for people in Borneo.”
Aeberli said the first of the RB Link flights will be made on July 29 using two brand new ATR aircraft, flying to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. He said due to the small size of the planes, RB can fly more often – up to six times to Kuching instead of four.
“The plan is to add more cities in Borneo to the network like Tawau, Sandakan, Sibu and Bintulu by the fourth quarter of 2019. We hope to inform the public in August on the schedule and details,” he said. “In terms of sustainability, the top 10 cities in Borneo all have a population greater than 300,000 which clearly shows the huge potential of the Borneo market to RB. We initially selected five destinations; there are plenty of other opportunities where we can expand our business.”
As for the fares for the RB Link flights, Aeberli noted that they will be “good value for money” and “attract people to travel”, adding that the airline will offer quality and comfort onboard for this service.
He also shared that RB is looking forward to fly to Beijing, especially with the construction of the Beijing Daxing International Airport being completed. The new airport is expected to begin operations in September, and RB is working to connect to Beijing through the airport.
“It’s not a secret that we are looking forward to flying to Beijing. It is important to connect capital to capital,” Aeberli said of the Beijing service.
“We are working on this with our Chinese partner in China. Work is in progress. (This second airport in Beijing) will definitely provide opportunities for some new airlines to operate in Beijing, and we are working on that.”