| Hakim Hayat |
NATIONAL carrier Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) officially launched its inaugural flight to Taipei yesterday, as it continues to expand further its regional network and boost the tourism industry in Brunei as well as its connectivity and services for its guests.
RB is operating the new route to the key tourism and trade market on a codeshare basis with China Airlines (CI), allowing guests from both airlines to purchase their flights to and from Brunei and Taipei on the same flight number for seamless travel connections.
The inaugural flight was operated with a special livery A320neo aircraft in a ceremony at the Brunei International Airport yesterday.
RB Chief Executive Officer Karam Chand, in his speech, said that RB first flew to Taipei in 1986 and expressed his enthusiasm to re-connect Bandar Seri Begawan with the vibrant city.
“Taipei is projected to be a key tourism and trade market for Brunei as well as major contributor to RB’s network. With this new route, we have strengthened our regional network and enable increased connectivity options for our guests through the marketing of our single and dual destinations packages in all the cities we serve, including new destinations such as Kuching which we will operate effective on December 28,” he said.
“This new service is exciting for RB and Brunei tourism stakeholders as it provides a strong platform to build our tourism flows and earnings. Likewise for Taiwan tourism stakeholders who will have the opportunity to welcome Bruneians and other nationalities who uses our services,” he further said, adding that the flights have been very well-received by their guests as demonstrated by the strong forward bookings.
RB operates its brand new Airbus A320neos three times weekly to Taipei every Monday, Thursday and Friday. With confidence in market growth, RB is already planning to add another flight in April next year, subject to approvals, Chand said.
As part of RB’s plan to expand its network in the region and help boost the tourism industry in Brunei, Chand also mentioned of their plans very soon to offer up to seven cities in China.
He revealed RB’s anticipation of the commencement of its services to Beijing’s new airport Daxing next year and to Tokyo in mid March next year.
CI President Su-Chien Hsieh, in his speech, said that the new route operated by both airlines will help boost ties between the two regions, taking advantage of Brunei’s development potential and help build a more comprehensive global network.
Meanwhile in Taipei, RB held a two-day promotional event with its brand ambassador Wu Chun to commemorate the new route. The event included a marketing campaign where Wu Chun took part in activities with thousands of fans and visitors to promote and attract new tourists to Brunei.
The inaugural flight from Brunei landed in Taipei Taoyuan International Airport with a water cannon salute and a welcoming ceremony.
RB’s Chief Commercial Officer Martin Aerberli was on the first flight, which also included a group of 48 Bruneian students who are attending the 2018 Compatriot Youth Taiwan tour to explore the local culture.