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Brunei welcomes first no-frills airline


 

October 18, 2007

AVIATION:
Brunei welcomes first no-frills airline

AirAsia became the first no-frills airline to touch down in Brunei Darussalam as the inaugural flight landed yesterday at the Brunei International Airport.

A reception was organised at the airport to welcome the inaugural flight to Brunei. The aircraft landed at 5.35pm with 120 guests on board and were greeted to a warm hadrah reception.

"We would like to extend our apprecia-tion to the Brunei government, Brunei Tourism Board and the people of Brunei for being as passionate as we are for AirAsia to fly to Brunei and for all the support they have shown us.

"It is our hope to bring the beautiful country and warm hospitality of Brunei to our fellow Malaysians and we hope the same for Brunei," said AirAsia's CEO Dato Tony Fernandes.

The load factor was 80 per cent for arrival and 94 per cent for departure for the inaugural flight yesterday. "There are still seats available and we still have another
20 minutes to sell;" Mr Fernandes, said with a broad smile at a press conference before the inaugural flight landed.

Brunei's Deputy Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Dato Hj Hamdillah, who was also at the press conference, welcomed the low-cost carrier and said it augurs well for the future of Brunei's tourism industry.

"Generally with the extra publicity, awareness and interest emanating from the arrival of low cost carriers, in most instances full service carriers have also ended up benefitting rather than losing out.

"Even if there is a period of adjustment to react suddenly to a more competitive environment, full service carriers in general have adapted well to the new business reality of `value competition'," he said.

Asked what took them so long to come to Brunei, Mr Fernandes highlighted Dato Hj Hamdillah's speech earlier saying there were fears about (allowing) low cost carriers. "I applaud the Brunei government for taking the step forward, especially when the national airline is involved.

"I think there was probably lot of thoughts in allowing AirAsia to come in. Tourism industry needs a variety of business operators. The low cost carrier is a new phenomenon in Asia and it takes time. But we were patient. We love this country and the people.

"Brunei was also very supportive initially for our Miri flight. The growth of tourism between Brunei and Miri last year was the largest in any Asean country and primarily fuelled by Miri.
"Unlike some countries where there were instances to block buses and so on, there was no .campaign to stop travel between Miri and Brunei," said Mr Fernandes and hoped for increasing the frequency of flights to Brunei.

Full story on http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/

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