MillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1241 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5753 times:
Since I have been involved with this outfit I do want to say a few things.
Before anyone takes this to seriously, the sultan who underwrites the losses this airline makes first have to approve things. MICEBTN are taking some of these rumours to seriously. In general whenever we speak Royal Brunei we must remember that management and decision-making authority differs. Final word lies with the man footing the bill not the top manager. And that's important because Royal Brunei isnt profitable.
The sultan is smart and unlike his brother financially savvy, no way that we will see all that expansion. I would go as far as saying that I will eat my hat the day the LA flight is launched...
Management at Royal Brunei tend to have ambitious plans only to be brought down to earth by the people footing the bills.
Brunei with a population of 300.000 cant sustain routes that are guaranteed moneyloosers like LA, Frankfurt or for that sake Bombay.
Increasing Australia yes Sydney is a goer (not sure if they ever can make money there though). Melbourne would surprise me even though I can see the desire for it. Going direct to London yes that's a strong aspiration, but the rest! Hmm not really.
Regional cities is on the wishlist but the last few years have taught us that instead of flying unprofitable destinations RBA have retracted and focused on what they can do without to heavy losses. (look at the number of destinations dropped over the last 5 years, non of them were profitable)
I very much doubt they will be in Tokyo and Ujang Padang? They couldnt make Surabaya work and even the lowcosts struggle on routes to Celebes.
Increasing Kuching, adding a twice weekly to Penang sure but that's about it. (Not really sold on Penang but at least it has been discussed often before)
The 777 has been rumoured for years, at one stage ordered from leasing companies painted and ready for delivery then rejected by the government. I know that many say they have been ordered again but only time will tell if the sultan really allows that facebook airline manager dream to become reality.
Fact is Royal Brunei doesn't need the 777, the reason for this is that they cant fill a 767 without heavy discounting.
The 787 is a perfect sized plane for them, just like the A330 would have been. The 777 is a waste of money. We must remember, Royal Brunei is famous for one thing, having the cheapest tickets on the kangaroo route and the best deals between Asia and Oceania.
Upgrades are always given out at the transferdesk in Brunei and the Oceanic flights often goes out without any fullpaying passengers in the premium classes.
Expanding the amount of seats seems about as smart as selling sand in Sahara.
They cant fill the seats as it is and premium demand is not there.
The last numbers for Sydney were disasterous and that's why the service was withdrawn.
I love Royal Brunei, they offer great service and is very cheap. But until the planes are on the ground nothing coming out of the Bandar HQ should be taken as facts.
The 777s are supposedly already ordered, being the Unidentified Order of 4 777-200/LR from 3Jan2007.
I think that with the righ cost structure and fare structre, they could make LAX-BWN work by focusing on connections to Vietnam. There should even be demand for discounted C class fares LAX-SGN as long as the connection in BWN is not too long. Just my opinion.
Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
NZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6413 posts, RR: 38
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5439 times:
Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 4): Increasing Australia yes Sydney is a goer (not sure if they ever can make money there though). Melbourne would surprise me even though I can see the desire for it.
If Viva Macau is still operating (and even expanded to MEL), I don't see why BR can't survive in these 2 cities. As long as the connections to other Asian ports are made, it could very well be a viable option for travellers.
Aviasian From Singapore, joined Jan 2001, 1486 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5425 times:
Millwallsean has hit it right on the nail. Royal Brunei's grand dreams are plenty but few are ever realised . . . not profitably at least.
I am not sure RBA could fill a wide-body aircraft on a nonstop service from Banda Seri Begawan to London. Besides it puny population, its tourism product is largely unknown. I recall how Brunei's tourism advertisments featured either the national park (a rainforest) or an amusement park. With all the monstrous themeparks in the world and the region (some of which are losing money), who would be interested to stopover in Brunei for a ride in the amusement park?
Thankfully as Millwallsean indicated, the man footing the bill is a lot more circumspect in investing in the airline and does not rubber-stamp the grand dreams of the airline's managers. I have travelled on RBA's service from FRA to BKK in 1996 and the service was absolutely superb. But then again, for those who consider alcohol as a must on a longhaul flight, RBA would again lose ground because it is one of those Islamic national carriers that does not serve alcohol onboard. And on the Kangaroo Route, this would be an issue.
I would be happy to see any form of expansion by RBA. It seems to have bolstered its flights between BWN and SIN.
MillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1241 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4591 times:
Yet again, I really like RBA and uses them frequently. they are a great little outfit. But over-expansion into markets that they cant sustain seems so unnecessary. build on the measures taken (codeshares/cancellations) the last few years when the worst routes were cancelled. Build slowly.
Now Air Asia has gotten in on the KK-Brunei route as well. A route that was decent for RBA.
Sabah provides plenty of feed to the Australia flights but with AirAsia X coming online more and more this feed will face price-competition. That cant be good for RBA.
Quoting Cchan (Reply 12): Been there in 2002. The place is quite run down and a lot of the facilities were not operative.
Today almost everything is closed inside the park. A bit sad, used to be a good place.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 7): If Viva Macau is still operating (and even expanded to MEL), I don't see why BR can't survive in these 2 cities. As long as the connections to other Asian ports are made, it could very well be a viable option for travellers.
Hmm have you seen Viva Macaus numbers...
That would otherwise answer your question.
RBA surviving on these cheap connections. Surviving on connections only isnt easy, connections add plenty of costs but doesnt bring in much extra revenue. Thats something that needs to be remembered. Surviving on discounted economy class tickets that are connections that would be financial suicide.
Seriously, the reason they cant survive is because RBA is operating a loss making venture. The last time the airline went to Sydney they suffered heavy losses and the new routes wont be any different. Problem is that demand to Bandar is almost zero and filling up seats by selling the cheapest tickets when you're homebase is Brunei isnt sustainable long-term.
The new manager has of course been promised lots of things but when the results come in he, just like a few before him, will realise that he cant fulfil his ambitious plans.
Red numbers will see to that.
Quoting The777Man (Reply 6): I think that with the righ cost structure and fare structre, they could make LAX-BWN work by focusing on connections to Vietnam. There should even be demand for discounted C class fares LAX-SGN as long as the connection in BWN is not too long. Just my opinion.
Now the market to Saigon isnt that low yield?
No way a very small airline, with a homebase of 300.000 people, mainly staffed by locals that enjoy a better living standard, higher wages (not stewardesses but quite a few other positions costs a lot more in Brunei) compared to most Asians and reliant on a pool of expat captains (European/antipodean and Asian) can compete for the low yielding business between the US and Saigon.
Quoting JAL (Reply 14): Anyone knows why the deal to take 777s fell through?
777 fell through because they would never ever make money for RBA.
Someone noticed that and no check was written to the managers. Too expensive.
This was after management had sent crew for training, taken some pilots off the rooster and established a 777 rooster for them. Some stayed on this 777 rooster for quite some time not doing any flying waiting for that phantom 777 that was painted and displayed on pictures.
The man that are very keen on the 777 will no doubt try to get those aircraft's again and will probably be blocked yet again when the bankers realise that the projections are laughable and that RBA wont be able to make money with such aircraft.
A330 or even better the 787 if/when it finally gets certified, anything else is just pure madness.
I really like RBA they are a great outfit. But until they can find a way of doing business that doesnt just involve catering to discounted economy class tickets I cant really see the point of ambitious plans that just will end up costing the sultan money.
I actually don't think that the alcohol ban impacts sales on the kangaroo route that much. the reason is that the people that go for RBA goes for the lowest price. People that shop based upon price only are often prepared to abstain from certain amenities.
besides the VFR, backpacker traffic that frequent RBA on the kngaroo route often tends to have one stopover that are 8 hours or so in bandar. That would be a lot worse than being wo alcohol.
These people are often seen laying on the benches of bandar seri begawans airport. Some even dare to venture downstairs to the sleeping rooms but many seem unwilling to pay the small fee for the dayroom so saving money must be a very high priority for them.
Directorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1668 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4370 times:
Why on earth would Royal Brunei operate Brunei-Bahrain? Is there demand for such a route? If they wanted a second Gulf city, they should do perhaps DOH, or JED, which is further afield but demand might be existant (religious tourism).
I know Royal Brunei operated Brunei-Bahrain-Cairo, but obviously that was axed in the 1990s. Can't imagine the situation's changed that much.
ETA Unknown From Comoros, joined Jun 2001, 2074 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3562 times:
As the person responsible for initiating the family european fares ex Australia (I'm flattered they still exist long after my departure!) on RBA I can safely say MEL and LAX will never, ever happen. Sydney again maybe if they can sort out the slots and LHR connections.
LAX was experimented with in the mid 90's as a via MNL and HNL service, but PAL objected. Then the Bruneian Govt. tried to buy part of PAL, but that didn't work out either. Then RBA toyed briefly with a HNL termination (also via MNL).
All the abandoned ports (KWI, SHJ, MCT, CCU, BAH, ZRH etc) were mainly prestige flying while trying to capture 5th freedom traffic with 767 engine limitations. And who can forget the short-lived and crazy BWN-RGN-AUH-LHR flight that was blamed on "American propaganda" by those in Commerical Dept. head office to justify non-existant loads to/from RGN. And the BIMP-EGA plan to service every local destination in ASEAN that never made it past Balikpapan.
As correctly stated above, BWN is home to less than 350,000 people- most of RBA's business is connecting traffic, hence their problem in obtaining landing rights in many countries. And now they have to contend with Air Asia and a Sultan who no longer writes them an annual blank cheque. In fact, DRW was only operated as long as it was because it was a condition of the air services agreement in order to expand PER/BNE... there was an option to switch it for CNS, but we made the assessment DRW was the better option as higher yielding traffic.
Fauzi From Brunei, joined Jul 2005, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 3235 times:
Actually, the B777 deal fell through because of a huge argument with the bank, as the bank didn't want to finance for initial checks etc.
But seriously, Los Angeles as a destination? Ha-ha-ha. I think regional flights are the real money makers for BI, for example all 3x daily flights to SIN and BKI are always at least 70% full.
Honestly, I think BI has too much staff on their payroll. Take a look at MI, they don't have a lot of the premium routes, but they are pretty much profitable, probably a few millions, but a profit is still a profit. MH was suffering from heavy losses for years, but after the CEO came in and reorganised and reshuffled the staff, they were no longer in red.
Once on a flight to PER from BWN, I swear I saw a Ferrari being shipped under the belly of the B763...