Royal Brunei Airlines, the flag carrier of the tiny nation, has delayed its introduction of services to Brisbane, Australia by one month. The airline has confirmed to CAPA that this delay is due to operational reasons. They have set a new date for commencement of the route of July 2019.
This will be the second Australian route for the airline, who also flies a direct service to Melbourne from their capital city in Brunei. They previously flew to Brisbane until 2011. It is believed that this service and the one to Melbourne are feeder routes for its non-stop flights to London.
Who is Royal Brunei Airlines?
If you are unfamiliar with the national carrier of Brunei, they a smaller airline operating in the Asia Pacific region out of their hub airport Bandar Seri Begawan. They have 14 aircraft, a mix of A320ceos and A320neos (which are the replacement) and five Boeing 787-8s.
They fly to not only Australia but across the region, from China to Japan to even Heathrow in the UK. They are a great airline, with many passengers singing their praises in regards to fantastic service, large meal sizes and excellent customer service (they have been known to place you in a 5-star hotel if your flight is delayed significantly).
However, the carrier has not been without its fair share of controversy. As they are 100% owned by the Brunei government, they have to implement several policies of the Muslim nation, such as no alcohol on flights, conservative entertainment and, unfortunately, toeing the line with the government’s death penalty for homosexuality. This has led to several of their partner airlines, including KLM, to reconsider their business relationship.
What will the service be offered?
Unlike the Melbourne – Bandar Seri Begawan route that is operated by a Boeing Dreamliner 787-8, the restarted route to Brisbane will be operated by an A320neo four times a week.
Speaking to Australian Aviation, the airlines chief executive, Karam Chand, said he couldn’t wait to get back to Queensland.
“We have very good connections from the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, East Asia and South East Asia to/from Brisbane,” Chand said. “We offer great value to our Australian guests and exciting destinations such as Brunei, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Ho Chi Minh City to name a few which could be packaged as single or dual destination holidays.”
The route was put together in partnership with Tourism Queensland and an aviation attraction fund provided by the government.
“These new direct links will also expand tourism, business and trade opportunities between Queensland and Brunei,” Brisbane Airport chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said to Australian Aviation. “It is also great that new longer-range narrow-body aircraft such as the A320neo is now able to make direct flights into Brisbane more viable than ever, an opportunity we are working to expand on in the future,”
Why was the route delayed?
It is believed that the route was delayed from its original 10th of June opening to the 10th of July due to 787 operational reasons.
Specifically, the 787-8 had to be reconfigured inside to provide better crew quarters for cabin crew for the longer, non-stop flight (which originally landed in Dubai and continued onwards). In the meantime, 787 routes had to be covered by their A320neos (the ones selected for the Brisbane route).
What do you think about the new direct route between Brisbane and Brunei? Will you use it to fly direct to London?