Royal Brunei talking to SIA about 777s?


SIA.jpgGot a tip off late last week that Royal Brunei are back at it again trying to get leases on Boeing 777s and that the carrier is currently in talks to try and secure some of Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-200s.

This perked my curiosity enough that I put in a call this morning to my old boss , Nick Ionides, who now works at Singapore Airlines. Didn’t ask him about Royal Brunei because I know he’s never going to confirm it but I did ask him what the situation is with the airline’s fleet of 777-200s and Boeing 747-400s.

This is the response I got “by the end of this financial year, ie March 2010, we will have seven 777-200s and three 747-400s available for sale.”

“As we’ve said before we expect to phase out the last 747-400 pax aircraft around 2011. No plans to phase out [all the] 777-200s in the immediate future” as some are being retrofitted for routes to China and India.

Royal Brunei presently uses Boeing 767s for its international services and is waiting to receive Boeing 787s that it ordered via a leasing company.

The fact that the 787 programme is delayed means that Royal Brunei is in desperate need for some interim lift.

This is because Royal Brunei’s 767s lack the range to go non-stop to Europe so they have to do a stopover in the Middle East.  This puts them at a competitive disadvantage because it means they are right up against the wealthy Middle East carriers.

After speaking to SIA, I put in a call into Royal Brunei’s PR department. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck confirming the bit about talks with SIA. But I’ll keep digging and if I get anything …you can read it on this blog.

Royal Brunei has said publicly they are in the market for interim lift. It is a just a question of when they can get the aircraft. Although I would be surprised if the aircraft end up coming from SIA. Royal Brunei wants to lease 777s as interim lift and SIA is not really in the business of leasing aircraft. They much prefer to sell their older aircraft.


18 Responses to Royal Brunei talking to SIA about 777s?

  1. Avanti 9 February, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Good post Leithen. I like the detective work! It’s an interesting dilemma for 767 operators waiting for 787s in markets changing fat under their feet.

    Just a small point. I presume SQ will be releasing 777-200s in 2010 rather than 777-200ERs. SQ 744s are being replaced by A380s/773ERs and 777-200s by A330-300s, but the 772ER fleet is a lot newer and focused on long-haul secondary destinations.

    RBA would need the range of the -200ER in order to serve LHR and FRA nonstop from Bander – which are quite a bit longer than the equivalents from SIN.

    If they decided to go with SQ’s basic 777-200s, they would still need to stop in DXB to refuel, so any kangaroo route pax using RBA would still stretch their legs twice enroute. Although the ex-United 777-200s previously considered by RBA (one even made its way into their livery) would have had the same limitation so maybe that’s the way they want to go. It’s a low yield market anyway.

    Also, those SQ 777-200s are in regional config in C-class, so they would probably need an expensive cabin upgrade – which will be a difficult business case for an interim solution – it would all depend on how far out are their 787 delivery dates.


  2. Joel 10 February, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Royal Brunei’s one benefit, in the eyes of my FD at least, is that their business fares from DXB are significantly lower than BA, EK and VS. Judging by the loads on fligts I’ve taken, this isn’t enough to fill the cabin.

    If they do pick up ex-SIA aircraft I wonder if the toilets will be upsized and the taps gold plated!?

  3. Kinbin 10 February, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Concur with Avanti… good piece. After a few more of such posts, you ought to make application to formalize Sherlock as your middle name.

  4. Erik 11 February, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    Royal Brunei was about to lease 4 Boeing 777-300er’s from Jet Airways of India. Do you happen to know what the status of that deal is?

  5. leithen 11 February, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    That’s correct Erik. They were earlier talking to Jet Airways in India about using some of their 777s. But I heard that deal fell through so now they are talking to SIA.

  6. Y.SEEDAT 12 February, 2010 at 11:59 pm #


  7. mike 10 April, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Went to book a trip BNE to LHR return with RBA and found the plane now shown is a 777, checked earlier flights and the 777 shows up about beginning of May ?

    The seat plan layout of Y class shows 31 to 59 different to most, I believe it is an 772er from SIA

  8. Ron Hanley 10 April, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    Well they must have secured the deal. I am booked on RBA Brisbane to London on the 8th July and they tell me the a/c is a B777-200ER.

  9. Erik 16 April, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    I’ve checked the schedule on the Royal Brunei website. If you look for flights to London you’ll see that from June 24th on the scheduled aircraft is a Boeing 777. They wouldn’t put that on their official site if the deal hadn’t gone through right?

  10. Dez 3 May, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Funny that cos i was on a 767 from Brunei to Brisbane in july its now changed to a 777.

  11. Jerome 11 May, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    We have just been told we are flying on 777s from Brisbane to London and back in June and July.

    I really, really hope they have the flat beds in Business. That will make up for the ‘bait and switch’ they have pulled on us twice using the short-haul plane with no bed or TV in business!

    I may still fly with them if they do, I’ve been considering a switch, but their miles deal give us 1 flight free per 3 paid, so I have a hard time getting off them.

  12. Ron Hanley 11 May, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    Latest news from RBA is that they have signed to lease six B777-200ER’s from Singapore Airlines. the first Aircraft arrives on 26 th May and commences service on the BWN to LHR route in mid June.The 5 other B777′s will arrive during June to September. All I need now is a seat map.

  13. R.Weiley 12 May, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    First RBA B777-200ER flight from Brisbane is on 25 June 2010.Check out the RBA website under ‘About Royal Brunei’ Sub Para ‘Corporate News’ it gives you full details there.
    They are to receive six B777′s from SIA. The first arrives in BWN on 26th May.(I am told it is in a Hong Kong paint shop at the moment). The first RBA B777 flight from BWN, is to LHR on 24 June 2010.

    I am told that the Business Class seats are 193cm flat beds. Hope so as we are off to the UK on 8th Jul in seats HK16 going and AC 16 returning.

  14. chris 13 May, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    @Avanti: all SQ 772s are actually 77E, they have just chosen to derate the engines via software. What SQ calls the 77E is their own designation for the 30C Spacebed config (I believe registrations 9V-SVA to 9V-SVO), while 772 is the regional config with derated engines.

    @Erik: 9W ended up leasing 4 77W to TK, and 3 to TG. I am not sure if 9W is still looking to lease out the other 3, sell them, or hold onto them.

  15. Ron HANLEY 13 May, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    RBA have released the registered numbers of their B777-212ER’s as.V8 RBA Ex 9V SVF – 30871
    V8 RBB Ex 9V SVG – 30872
    V8 RBC Ex 9V SVA – 28524
    V8 RBD Ex 9V SVB – 28525
    V8 RBE Ex 9V SVC – 28526 and,
    V8 RBF Ex 9V SVD – 30869.

    The first flight of an RBA B777-212ER will now be on 20 June 2010.

  16. Ron HANLEY 17 May, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    I wish to correct an error I made re the registration numbers of their B777′s.RBA registration numbers should read BLA to BLF and not RBA to RBF.

    The first B777-212ER flight to Brisbane, is 20th June 2010.

  17. mike 20 June, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    On Thursday the 16 June I flu into Brunei airport on my way back from London to Brisbane, I spotted 3 Brunei 777-200er’s

    V8-BLA BLB and BLC, BLA was parked and then towed to a dock, BLB landed and then docked and C was in a hanger spotted as we took off, BLA or BLB flu to London on its maiden voyage for Brunei late in the after noon after I left, I got 3 all on video

  18. mike 24 June, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    I put up a video of the new RB B777-200er’s at Bandar Seri airport.

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