SIBU: Royal Brunei (RB) Airlines has started its services to Sibu as part of its RB Link services today.
Its ATR 72-600 aircraft Flight B16885 operated by Malindo Air, which made an inaugural landing at the Sibu Airport at about 2.40 pm with 65 passengers on board, was welcomed with a water cannon salute.
The landing was nine days after RB started its operation for the Bandar Seri Begawan–Bintulu route.
Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah led the welcoming reception for the passengers including some journalists from Brunei.
RB senior vice president of sales Ai-Ling Ng at a ceremony later said RB was very proud to become the first international airline to fly to Sibu through its RB Link services.
“We are delighted to introduce Sibu as our next destination in phase one of the RB Link regional initiative connecting cities and towns within Borneo Island.
“Sibu and its neighbouring towns will benefit from our value pricing and five-star full-service products, as well as a seamless connection through Brunei to routes such as non-stop London (UK), Australian cities of Brisbane and Melbourne, Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), and six Chinese cities,” she said.
RB believed that travellers from Sibu including from the government, corporate and leisure segments would try its products and find it a compelling reason to choose the airline and Brunei International Airport as a transit point going forward.
“From a global perspective, Borneo Island spanning Sarawak, Sabah and the Indonesian province of Kalimantan offers so many options for our international guests: rich cultural diversity, unique flora and fauna, national parks, incredible wildlife, beaches and so much more. There are many amazing places to explore for our families and friends in Sibu,” Ng said.
Meanwhile, Abdul Karim in his speech said with the international connectivity through the Brunei International Airport, Sibu and its surrounding areas in the central region of Sarawak could expect more tourist arrivals in the future.
The state government will be promoting the central region as a destination for culture, adventure, nature, food, and festivals.
“Coupled with the completion of the Sibu-Kapit road, expected August 2020, Sibu as the gateway to the hinterland could benefit as it has a lot to offer tourists.
“Events such as the annual Borneo Cultural Festival, Sibu International Dance Festival, and Sibu International Base Jump will definitely rise,” he said.
He urged the Resident office and Sibu Municipal Council to come up with more tourism products and provide excellent hospitality to the tourists.
Additionally, Abdul Karim said the Brunei International Airport would serve as another alternative gateway apart from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for the people from the central region who have been longing for more convenient connectivity to foreign destinations.
There will be six flights weekly to and from Bandar Seri Begawan and Sibu.