Royal Brunei has no plans to add long-haul routes to its roster, despite receiving its first Dreamliner last month and with four more arriving early next year.
The carrier used to operate a more extensive long-haul network into Australia and New Zealand – serving Auckland, Brisbane and Perth – but closed these routes over two years ago (see news, June 2011).
The airline is instead concentrating on its London-Dubai-Brunei-Melbourne route, the first two legs of which (London-Dubai-Brunei) will be served by a B787 from December 2. The remaining Brunei-Melbourne leg will be operated by a B777-200ER until March, when the entire route will become B787 exclusive.
Dermot Mannion, chairman of Royal Brunei, said: “We felt that we needed to focus our attention more on the strategically important destinations for the airline, rather than chasing traffic in the kangaroo market, which is a very competitive sector these days.
“We don’t have any imminent plans for further long-haul routes.”
Mannion believes operating the B787 aircraft sends a “powerful message” that the carrier has arrived in the marketplace.
He said: “If you’re going all the way to Melbourne, we have a unique B787 experience. Seven hours to Dubai, eight hours to Brunei and then another seven hours to Melbourne — all on the B787 aircraft.”
Flight BI98 departs London Heathrow at 1705, transits in Dubai and Brunei, and arrives in Melbourne at 0600 two days later. Return flight BI54 departs Melbourne at 1325, also stops at the same two airports, arriving in London at 0640 the following day.
Royal Brunei first announced its plans to debut a B787 on a London route in September (see news, September 13).