| Achong Tanjong |
A ROYAL Brunei Airlines (RB) aircraft landed at Kuching International Airport (KIA) from Brunei International Airport for the first time after a five-year absence at 11.45pm on December 28.
The service, which takes only one hour and 15 minutes, is expected to stimulate the flow of visitors between Brunei and Kuching, and provide that vital link connecting travellers to the wider Borneo region.
The flights will be serviced by RB A320 aircraft on a twice-weekly basis initially, increasing to four weekly flights from February 3, 2019 onwards.
Welcoming the passengers of the inaugural RB flight to KIA was Sarawak Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin. According to Malaysian news reports, Lee stated his hopes that tourists from China will take advantage of the revival of the service and explore Sarawak while on their way to Brunei.
The ties between Brunei and Sarawak are expected to strengthen further with the reinstatement of the Brunei-Kuching route, Minister of Tourism , Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said.
He added that all this while, Sarawak had been looking “left” towards Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for transit flights.
“Now there is an alternative (transit point in Brunei) and the tourism packages offered by RB are very good,” he said at a luncheon to commemorate the flight’s arrival on Saturday.
RB Chief Commercial Officer Martin Aeberli said of the carrier’s first flight back to Kuching, “We are extremely delighted to reconnect with Kuching with the rest of our network and provide the missing air link to Brunei once again.”