It had been thought that Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) would lease B777-300ERs from Jet Airways (see online news, December 23, 2009). But the carrier has instead plumped for B777-200ERs from SIA.
Confirmation of the deal is now posted on RBA’s website with the new craft expected to enter service in the third week of next month (June).
These leased SIA B777s do not have the “uber luxury” premium cabins of the Jet Airways’ craft (which, incidentally are now leased by Thai Airways – see online news April 6) but they do represent a big improvement on RBA’s smaller B767-300ERs which currently ply its flagship routes between UK and Australia via Brunei.
Cabin interiors will remain unchanged so expect business class to feature SIA’s “Raffles” seats which are angled lie-flat rather than fully flat. However RBA will be installing its own IFE (inflight entertainment) system.
SIA operated these B777s in a two-class layout with 30 business class seats (disposed 2-2-2) with 57 ins of legroom and with 255 economy class seats (3-3-3) with 34 ins of legroom.
It means RBA’s marketing department will have to hone its marketing skills to fill the extra seats as the B767s seat 23 in business and 182 in economy class.
Passengers who have flown SIA in the past will remember that these particular B777s operated between Manchester and Singapore in SIA service until the end of March (before being replaced by newer and larger B777-300ERs). Currently this B777-200ER model is still used by SIA for its Singapore services out of Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Officially RBA will not state exactly when its B777s will enter service. But schedules are already posted on RBA’s website. It shows the initial craft being rostered for daily flights BI98 and BI97 linking Brunei with Dubai and London Heathrow from June 24. They will then take over flights BI73 and BI72 which operate six times a week between Brunei and Brisbane route the following day. Once all six planes are delivered we can expect RBA’s B777s to take over further routes.
The vast majority of RBA passengers transfer planes in Brunei for destinations to Europe (the UK is its sole arrival point), Australia and New Zealand or within the immediate region. The carrier is renowned for its competitive pricing.
For more details visit bruneiair.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter