Royal Brunei revisits 777-300ER acquisition for London route

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Royal Brunei Airlines is evaluating a proposal to acquire Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to serve London non-stop.

The airline has disclosed that the 777-300ER is being re-considered, with a decision expected this year, after a deal last year to acquire 777-300ERs from Jet Airways fell through.

"We are now awaiting the decision of the board as to what the strategy as far as the composition of the aircraft fleet should be moving forward," Royal Brunei executive vice-president for commercial Riaz Moiz said in Melbourne.

Although Royal Brunei has the Boeing 787-8 on order, it plans to have them replace its 777-200ERs on routes around Australasia.

"The 787 will not be able to fly non-stop between Brunei and London. It doesn't have the range to do so," Moiz says. The Brunei-London sector is around 6,100nm although Boeing lists the 787-8 as having a range between 7,650-8,200nm.

Royal Brunei does not plan to take the longer-range 787-9 variant instead, says Moiz.

The carrier is awaiting an updated 787 delivery schedule from Boeing after last hearing its first aircraft was due in 2012. Moiz says: "We have not heard anything from Boeing to indicate otherwise; 2012 is what we are looking at, but it remains to be seen."

If 787 aircraft are further delayed, Moiz says Royal Brunei may extend the leases on its six 777-200ER aircraft from Singapore Airlines.

"There is a condition in the agreement that will allow us to extend them for a certain period beyond that but not for an indefinite period," Moiz says. The leases are scheduled to end between June 2012 and February 2013, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database.

London is the carrier's only planned European destination, but Moiz says: "We always look at other destinations and route options and that is always a continuous process."

If the carrier decides to stick with a one-stop service to London, Moiz says it may re-evaluate the Dubai stopover. "We would look at other options if some intermediate points proved to be more interesting."

Moiz says Royal Brunei does not plan to serve the USA in the near future nor does it plan to acquire aircraft from the Airbus A320neo family.