DUBAI: Royal Brunei looks for strategic tie-up

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Royal Brunei Airlines is looking to enter into a strategic partnership with another carrier, but will not be looking to join one of the major alliances.

Deputy chairman Dermot Mannion says that the airline is now consolidating the gains from a three-year internal restructuring that has made the small carrier more competitive against other airlines in Southeast Asia.

“We’ve right-sized the organisation and we’re in a position now where we’re much better able to compete with the full-service carriers on one side and of course we do also compete with the low cost shorthaul carriers,” he says.

“We’re now at the stage where we can begin to look at a single strategic partnership. We’re certainly not planning to join any of the alliances. Small airlines in my opinion don’t do well in alliances.”

The carrier is in the process of adding five Boeing 787-8s to its fleet, which will be used to replace 777-200ERs that it uses on its longhaul services. The airline is presently flying them on regional routes, but from 1 December will deploy it on its Bandar Seri Begawan-Dubai-London services, followed by services to Melbourne from April 2014.

“We will become the first airline to offer exclusive Dreamliner service across our longhaul services,” Mannion says.

On its fleet, Mannion says that the carrier will make a decision later this year on replacements for its six Airbus A320 family aircraft that are used on short- and medium-haul services.

It is evaluating the Boeing 737 Max and A320neo, and will be pushing for early delivery slots to allow it to change over its fleet as soon as possible, he adds.