Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2010.
India’s Jet Airways is close to finalising a deal with Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) to lease three Boeing 777-300ERs from Jet Airways. The deal with RBA could see the 777s flying in RBA service as early as February. These 777s are the same which Gulf Air had leased for a short period and have been returned.
There is a good fit between the two carriers. Jet has excess aircraft capacity and has been looking for another carrier to lease these uber-luxurious aircraft. The delivery of its newest 777, VT-JEL has been indefinitely deferred.
At present RBA operates to London Heathrow, it’s only non-Australasia destination, via Dubai, using a two class Boeing 767. The airline has few destinations in South-East Asia (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Jakarata, Manila etc), near east (Hong Kong). It’s other longer distance services include Perth, Brisbane, Jeddah and Auckland. Its Sydney services were suspended last year, and the carrier would like to add Melbourne as a destination.
RBA’s 767s are old products, lacking the latest cabin products of it competitors in the region, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and Malaysia Airlines. Jet’s world renowned three-class Boeing 777s are fitted with state-of-the-art cabin including first class suites and fully flat beds in business class (see images here), will enable Royal Brunei to re-launch itself with a quality product for its passengers who primarily transit, rather than visit Brunei. Jet’s 777’s will also provide a huge boost in capacity with their 8-30-274 first, business, economy seats compared to the RBA 767’s 23-182.
Reports in The Brunei Times, indicate that RBA technical staff have already assessed the B777s in India and the Royal Brunei may commence using the aircraft by February.
At this point it is unclear whether the lease will be with crew (wet lease) or without (dry lease). Messages and follow up with Jet Airways have produced no answers. Jet Airways is keen to have the aircraft on a wet lease, which will further reduce pressures on their HR.