Dermot Mannion, Deputy Chairman of Royal Brunei Airlines, talks to ITCM’s Sydney PauldenOne of the smallest countries in the world, Brunei Darussalam is aiming to become a bigger destination for incentives. The name ‘Darussalam’ signifies ‘Place of peace’ and it is very relevant to Brunei, which could be a big attraction as an incentive getaway or a venue for a tranquil meeting.
‘Any organiser taking a corporate group can be sure of a warm welcome and high standards of service. This will apply from the moment they step onto a Royal Brunei Airlines flight’. So says Dermot Mannion, Deputy Chairman of RBA . ‘Our airline serves several important markets. We link with many destinations around South East Asia and also with London, Dubai and Melbourne.
Dermot very much plays an executive role in the airline and brings unrivalled experience to it. An Irishman, he spent years with Emirates and Aer Lingus and was in demand around the world as an airline consultant when he was offered this opportunity by Brunei towards the end of 2010.
‘Tourism in Brunei’, says Dermot, ‘is in its infancy, but it will grow from now on. For the first time Royal Brunei Airlines and the Brunei Tourism Organisation are jointly staging a Road Show in the UK. This will be followed by further initiatives that will prove what we have so much to offer.’
One that will go a long way to putting Brunei on the tourism map is an idea that was the brainchild of the late Seve Ballesteros. ‘From 14th to 16th December 2012’, explains Dermot, ‘Brunei will be the venue for a golf tournament, along the lines of the Europe versus the USA Ryder Cup. It is Europe versus Asia, playing to win The Royal Trophy.
‘It will be played on the course designed by Jack Nicklaus at the 6-star quality Empire Hotel & Country Club. Europe will be captained by Jose Maria Olazabal.’ With Jose on the Royal Trophy Players Committee are Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam OBE, Paul McGinley, Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki and Jeev Milkha Singh.
Royal Brunei Airlines has been in business for over 30 years. It currently operates Boeing 777s, but has already placed an order to replace them with Boeing 787 Dreamliners. ‘These will enhance passenger comfort’, says Dermot, ‘whilst reducing the cost of operation through greater efficiency. We will be the first Asian airline to have Dreamliners and they will start to join our fleet in August 2013.’
Pictured: Dermot Mannion, Deputy Chairman, Royal Brunei Airlines; Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 777