ROYAL BRUNEI AIRLINES CORPORATE BACKGROUNDER

 

Brunei Airlines, the country's flag carrier, was established on 18 November 1974 as an independent corporation wholly owned by the government of Brunei Darussalam.

Its Chairman is Pehin Dato Paduka Haji Hazair Bin Haji Abdullah, who is also a Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office.

The Chief Executive Officer is Peter Foster and Pengiran Mohd Yusof bin Pengiran Haji Jeludin is Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

Other Brunei citizens hold the directorial posts within the departments of Commercial, Engineering, Corporate Strategy, Customer Services and Administration and Personnel Services.

Fleet And Routes

With an initial fleet of two Boeing 737-200s, Royal Brunei Airline's first scheduled service was inaugurated on May 14, 1975 to Singapore.

Within the same year too, the airline started its services to Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching in Malaysia.

Manila and Bangkok were inaugurated in 1976 and 1977, respectively, and following the purchase of a third B737-200QC Combi in 1980, the airline expanded to include Kuala Lumpur (1981), Darwin (1983) and Jakarta (1984).

Three new extended range B757-200 aircraft were delivered in 1986. Subsequently, Taipei was inaugurated the same year, followed by Dubai (1988) and Frankfurt (1990).

In June 1990, Royal Brunei took delivery of its first B767300ER aircraft. With the delivery of the B767 aircraft, the airline expanded to London Gatwick (1990) and Perth (1991). Twice-weekly services to London Heathrow, instead of London Gatwick, began on May 7, 1991.

The 1990s were a banner decade, inaugurating services to Jeddah (1991), Denpasar (1993), Brisbane (1994) and Kolkata (1995).

Services to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Zurich, Beijing and Cairo (1993), Osaka and Balikpapan (1994), Bintulu and Yangon (1996) and Kuwait (2000) were also introduced but these have since been suspended.

On December 1, 1996, Royal Brunei increased its frequencies from Bandar Seri Begawan to London Heathrow to daily operations.

Twice-weekly services to Surabaya were launched in 1997. This was followed by Shanghai in 2001 and Auckland in 2003.

The deliveries of two new Airbus A319 aircraft (August and September 2003) marked the beginning of Royal Brunei's re-fleeting exercise to provide its customers with-improved levels of comfort.

On September 13, 2003, His Majesty Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah graced the airline with a visit, flying the A319 himself.

Two more Airbus A320s were delivered in December 2003 and January 2004 respectively.

Royal Brunei Airlines currently operates a fleet of six Boeing B767-300s, two Airbus A320s and two Airbus A319s.

To date, Royal Brunei provides scheduled services to 20 destinations across Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and Europe. Sydney, the latest destination, was launched on 31st October 2004.

New services to Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo are planned for 2005/6. As an added convenience to its passengers, the airline has code-share agreements with Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, British Midland, Philippine Airlines and Dragon Air of Hong Kong.

Code-sharing allows passengers to co-ordinate flights for seamless travel to a wider choice of destinations.

Passenger figures have since grown from 46,831 in 1975/6 to 1,160,431 in 2003/4, while cargo carried has risen from 504,923 kilograms to 37,817,391 kilograms respectively.

Products And Services

Major developments have taken place within Royal Brunei recently in line with its ongoing commitment to provide passengers with superior product and services.

In-flight Services

In March 2004, the airline introduced its new flatbed SkyDreamer seats in its retrofitted B767 Business Class cabins.

The SkyDreamer seat offers maximum comfort as it can extend to 75 inches when fully reclined. The podded seat feature and a personal pull-up screen provide extra privacy.

Each seat comes equipped with in-seat power connector and a 10.4 inch personal TV.  New economy class scats featuring 8.4-inch personal TVs have also been installed.

To complement the new seats, Royal Brunei has installed the latest Thales i-4000 series personal inflight entertainment system in the entire cabin. The new system, branded as SkyShow, offers a new level of service with 17 video on-demand selections, 5 broadcast video channels, 10 games, more than 50 CDs audio-on-demand and 12 channels of continuous audio entertainment in a variety of languages. More options arc added on monthly.

SkyDreamer and SkyShow is now available on four of the airline's B767s.

In October 2003, a new "food fit to fly by" meal concept was introduced into Royal Brunei's inflight menus featuring healthier and lighter meal options.

Bringing together the best of Asian virtues and hospitality, Royal Brunei's multilingual cabin crew from the Asean countries delivers quality service onboard the flights.

Loyalty Programme

Royal Skies, the airline's frequent flyer programme which was launched in May 2003, sets itself apart from other loyalty programmes with its straightforward simplicity and generosity in redeeming rewards.

Royal Skies members are able to enjoy their rewards much quicker as redemption begins from as low as just 5,000 miles.

The programme has been commended by one of the world's leading commentator of frequent flyer programmes, Colloquy, as "a spiffy new frequent-flyer program... simple to understand, and aligned closely with passenger revenue".

Service Centre

Royal Brunei Airlines Service Centre at the Brunei International Airport was opened on 29 December 2003 to serve as a convenient one-stop centre to provide customers with travel-related services such as reservations, ticketing and booking of tour packages.

Airport Facilities

SkyLounge, Royal Brunei Airlines' premium lounge at the Brunei International Airport, was opened in January 2004. Sky Lounge, which has a seating capacity of about 120, was designed and furnished with the comfort and convenience of the airline's premium class passengers in mind.

Aside from an array of refreshment, new facilities include massage chairs, shower rooms, prayer and ablution areas for Muslim passengers and large plasma screen televisions.

Business travellers now have the option of catching up on some work at the workstations which offer free internet access. Wireless internet connection is also available from anywhere within the lounge.

Internet Bookings

January 2004 also saw the introduction of BlueSky Fares, Royal Brunei's low-cost internet booking engine facility, which offers great value fares to selected destinations.

BlueSky Fares sets itself apart from other low-cost models by offering extremely affordable fares without compromising any of the airline's customary services such as complimentary meals, inflight entertainment, standard baggage allowance and advance seat selection. Blueskv Fares can only be purchased online at www.bruneiair.com

E-Ticketing R

Royal Brunei Airlines currently offers passengers the speed and convenience of Electronic Ticketing (E-Ticketing) on eight of its destinations.

Passengers travelling between Brunei, Brisbane, Darwin, Auckland, Perth, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu will be issued a copy of the itinerary and receipt of payment using this new service when they book on-line or through the airline's ticket offices in these cities.

E-Ticketing provides customers with greater flexibility, efficiency in booking and is safe. When a booking is confirmed, all travel details will be stored in the airline's reservation system.

As data is stored electronically, customers need not worry about losing their itineraries, which can be re-printed.

Customers who book online will have access to their itinerary at the time of booking. Upon check-in, passengers only need to present their passport and the itinerary to collect their boarding passes.

Golden Touch Holidays

Royal Brunei's Golden Touch Holidays and Stopover programmes offer attractive packages for passengers travelling into Brunei and the other cities that the airline flies to.

Sales Office

Royal Brunei Airlines passenger and cargo sales is represented by 68 Royal Brunei offices and sales agents in 32 countries, and this list continues to grow with the airline's expanding network.

Awards

In August 2004, Royal Brunei Airlines was upgraded from a three to four-star airline by Skytrax, the leading research advisors to the world's airline and air transport industry.

Royal Brunei's four-star ranking places it in the same category as British Airways, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic.

World Travel Awards placed Royal Brunei first in the category of World's Leading First Class for two consecutive years, from 1999 to 2000. Other nominees in this category were Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

Muhibah, the airline's in-flight magazine, was voted first runner-up in the categories of "Best In-flight Magazine" and "Best In-flight Entertainment Guide within the Magazine" at the 2002 AVION Awards organised by World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA). Muhibah had also won first place in the "Best Inflight Entertainment Guide within the Magazine" category of the AVION Awards for three consecutive years, from 1998 to 2000.

On May 14, 1999, Royal Brunei Airlines became the first airline outside Europe to be awarded a JAR- OPS -equivalent Air Operators Certificate (AOC), recognition that the airline has attained high and consistent standards of safety.

JAR-OPS stands for Joint Aviation Requirements in Aircraft Operations, the standard for 27 European nations. It was also nominated in the 1998 Travel Weekly Globe Awards as the best carrier to the Middle East, alongside British Airways, Emirates and Gulf Air.

Royal Brunei Airlines was placed in the `Best Airline' category of the 1997 Pata (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Awards.

Speciality Capabilities

Royal Brunei Airlines base maintenance is fully equipped and specialised in B767 and B757 heavy airframe maintenance.

Apart from maintaining its own aircraft, the airline also provides airframe maintenance, technical and materials support services to third party customer airlines. It is currently gearing up to provide similar services to the A320 family of aircraft.

In 1997, the airline also acquired a new generation B767300ER/B757-200ER full-flight simulator to keep its pilots in top form. This was installed in a purpose-built facility at the RBA Centre.

Certified by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) to the European JAR STD 1-A standard, all Flight Crew Initial and Recurrent training is now carried out in-house by Royal Brunei's own UK CAA-Authorised Training Captains.

The airline has also been successful in marketing simulator time to other airlines both in Asia and the European regions.

In 1999, His Majesty Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah tried out the simulator, "flying" around Brunei and London.

Staff Development

When its first scheduled flight took off for Singapore in May 1975, Royal Brunei Airlines had a staff of 84. Today it employs about 1,900 people, 90 per cent of whom are based in Brunei.

In pursuit of its mandate to develop competitive, high-calibre personnel, the airline maintains a sustained programme of recruitment and constant training for staff in all departments.

Its management recognises that despite all the technological advances, it is still people who spell the difference between success and failure.

In addition to overseas training offered to qualified staff, particularly in engineering and flight operations, the airline has introduced a Continuous Education Programme (CEP) to enable Bruneian staff to pursue tertiary and professional qualifications.

To date, 19 Bruneians have attained command rank as Captains while 35 are Senior First Officers and First Officers.

A General Management Trainee (GMT) programme was established in June 2003 to recruit and train, both internally and externally, high-calibre local graduates who will be expected to provide the backbone of the airline's senior management in the years to come.

The first group of trainees recruited under the programme commenced their first posting as Assistant to Managers at either the airline's Brunei Head Office or at its overseas stations following their 2-month induction program in September 2003.

Subsidiaries

Royal Brunei Catering operates a number of restaurants, party catering, an aircraft catering facility at Brunei International Airport and fast food outlets in Brunei Darussalam, as well as a computerised laundry service.

It earned formal recognition in 1995/96 with an award for Best Regional Caterer from Singapore Airlines.

Royal Brunei Trading, a subsidiary of Royal Brunei Catering, handles two of the duty-free shops at the Brunei International Airport.

Its joint ventures include R.S.H. Sports (Brunei) and Brunei's only McDonalds' restaurant, which opened in December 1992.

The Mulaut Abattoir Sdn Bhd which was privatised in August 1990, provides convenient, hygienic and Islamicsanctioned slaughtering facilities to local farmers and butchers, as well as for Qurban, Agigah and other religious ceremonies.

The abattoir also sells halal meat to the public and provides for Royal Brunei's inflight catering needs.

The ABACUS Distribution Systems (B) Sdn Bhd is a Brunei-based company established in 1990. Royal Brunei Airlines owns 85 percent of it, the remainder by Singapore's Abacus International.

It hooks up local travel agencies and other subscribers to the airline's Computer Reservation Systems (CRS). It provides training, on-site support and a help desk for its subscribers.

Abacus (B) has connected more than 40 travel agents in Brunei with a total of 160 terminals and PC equipment.

The RBA Golf Club Sdn Bhd is an 18-hole golf course with a driving range. It is situated near the Brunei International Airport.

The Brunei International Air Cargo Centre (BIACC) is a joint-venture company set up in January 2001 between Royal Brunei Airlines as the majority shareholder, Circle Freight International and Royal Brunei Technical Services to handle air cargo into and out of Brunei.

BIACC aims to complement and support the efforts and aspirations of His Majesty's government to establish Brunei as the Service Hub of Trade and Tourism in the region.

More information on Royal Brunei Airlines can be obtained from its website.  --Courtesy of Brunei Year Book