Royal Brunei Airlines’ (RB) newly-introduced twice weekly flights to Incheon will help draw more tourists and business from South Korea, airline CEO Karam Chand said on Sunday.

The healthy demand for RB’s chartered flights to South Korea coupled with increased tourist arrivals from the country has encouraged the flag carrier to open up the Seoul route as part of its scheduled flights.

“RB is committed to developing new markets and taking on the commercial risks that come with it. As the national carrier, we are behind the development of tourism in Brunei [to] assist in economic diversification,” Chand said.

RB CEO Karam Chand at the launch of the airline’s twice weekly scheduled flights to Incheon. Photo: Royal Brunei Airlines

He added that these initiatives will ramp up tourism activities in Brunei, generate jobs within RB and the tourism industry, as well as connect Brunei to the rest of the world. Overall, RB believes that it can aid FDI (foreign direct investment) interest and accommodate for movement of people and goods.

“South Korea is Brunei’s second largest trading partner. We have seen a significant growth in visitors from South Korea coming into Bandar Seri Begawan, and likewise, more Bruneians traveling to South Korea with the commencement of direct flights.”

At the launch yesterday, South Korean Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, Cho Won-myung, noted the increase in people-to-people exchange between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1984.

“The introduction of the scheduled direct flights is timely as next year South Korea will host the Winter Olympics 2018. We hope that this will make it easier for the people of Brunei to come and visit,” the ambassador said.

Schedule for RB’s newly introduced direct flights to Incheon. Photo: Royal Brunei Airlines

RB’s route expansion plans are already underway as it expects to welcome an additional six Airbus A320s and one Boeing 787 next year. The national carrier is also looking at more Chinese destinations and will be introducing a Beijing route later this year.

As it is, RB already has scheduled flights to two Chinese destinations — Shanghai and Hong Kong — and it hopes that more direct flights to Chinese destinations will open up more opportunities for local businesses.