Novel coronavirus: RB suspends, reduces flights

Azlan Othman

In the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, some Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) flight suspensions and consolidations have been implemented from mainland China and Hong Kong till February 29, the national carrier stated in a release yesterday.

RB said the Brunei-Beijing flight through Daxing airport has been reduced to four flights per week from February 1-10 while all flights will be suspended from February 11-29.

The flight previously operated daily.

Brunei-Shanghai flights which operated three times a week will be suspended from February 1-29 while the Brunei-Hong Kong flight has been reduced to five flights per week from February 1-29. The Brunei-Hong Kong flight previously operated daily.

The two flights per week (Tuesday and Thursday) between Brunei-Hong Kong have been suspended from February 1-29.

Brunei-Haikou flights have been suspended from January 30 to February 29. It operated twice weekly previously while Brunei-Nanning flights have been suspended from February 3-29. It operated twice weekly.

Brunei-Changsha flights have been suspended from February 2-29 while Brunei-Hangzhou flights are suspended from February 5-29. Both these routes operate once weekly.

All other routes will operate as per published schedule.

RB said it is closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus outbreak and the directives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and government agencies in China, Brunei and other countries it serves.

“The safety of our crew and guests is our highest priority. We are working closely with the authorities to minimise the spread of the coronavirus and taking proactive measures for our guests and crew.

“This includes proactive screening of the guests on the ground, safety measures to be taken by crew and guests on ground and in air. We also have in place a set of standard operating procedures to handle each flight, various inflight medical emergencies, including potentially infectious diseases. Any unwell guests will be attended to by relevant medical authorities immediately after the aircraft lands,” the RB release added.

RB added on board RB flights, stocks of surgical masks and anti-bacterial hand sanitisers are uplifted for emergency cases only.

Additional aircraft cabin disinfection has been implemented as a proactive measure by RB.

Passengers and crew feeling unwell and have travelled to China recently are advised to promptly seek medical attention, and report their travel history.

RB is also assisting booked guests affected by the flight changes with alternative flight arrangements (where feasible) or full refund of the fare. Certain destinations within RB’s route network have imposed travel bans for guests based on nationalities, cities of origin or travel history and travel alerts for non-essential travel. Guests are recommended to check with governments or embassies/high commissions prior to travel.

Options are available to RB guests affected by the flight changes and travel bans via booking on another RB flight. Guests can book onto another RB flight at a later date without any change in fees. Applicable for all flights to/from mainland China and Hong Kong from January 31 to March 31, 2020 that was ticketed up to January 31, 2020.

Another option is full refund where passengers can obtain a full refund to their original payment method for the amount equivalent to the booking. Applicable for all flights to/from mainland China and Hong Kong from January 31 to March 31, 2020 that was ticketed up to January 31, 2020.

For bookings made through travel agents including online travel agents, refund requests are to be made via the travel agents. “RB’s Self-service Check-in (Internet check-in, Mobile check-in and SMS) will not be available for the abovementioned flights including Hong Kong and Taipei until further notice.”

RB assured that the safety and wellbeing of guests and crew is its highest priority. RB is complying with advice and regulations from the local government, China Civil Aviation Authority, as well as global and local health authorities, including the WHO.

RB guests who are in China are advised to abide by announcements made by the government and health authorities, and to contact diplomatic missions in mainland China for assistance.

RB is closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates to the latest developments as appropriate. Follow RB on Twitter (@royalbruneiair) and Facebook (www.fb.com/royalbruneiairlines ) for latest updates, or flyRB.com or contact the customer service centre (+673 2212222) or local RB offices. Guests are also encouraged to check their flight status at flyrb.com.