AVIATION INTERVIEW NOOR AZMI JAMALUDDIN
Country Manager Malaysia for Royal Brunei Airlines
Noor Azmi Jamaluddin is a true veteran of the aviation industry. Having worked for Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) since 1994, he knows the airline from the back of his hand. In his experience, he has weathered storms and rode high waves with the airline. But this soldier does not plan to rest on his laurels. He recently shares with Airlink RB’s plans for expanding their empire in Borneo and how Malaysian travellers can discover that RB
is set apart from the rest.
Royal Brunei Airlines launched ‘RB Link’ which is a regional service connecting travellers across Borneo and linking Sandakan, Bintulu, Tawau and Sibu to the rest of the world. What were the reasons and strategies behind this expansion?
The RB Link aircraft operation will be a key enabler of increased tourism, trade and movement of people within BIMP-EAGA and will further strengthen Brunei’s economic ties with many cities and towns in Borneo. RB’s investment in developing air traffic in BIMP-EAGA also shows the commitment of Brunei to contribute to regional development and paves the way for people to connect to their destinations easier to which today, is challenging between different cities in the Island of Borneo.
What is your vision for the airline and RB Link moving forward?
We are proud to launch RB Link flights, gateway to Borneo and beyond. This is our latest innovation in improving the products and services across our network and expanding our “home market” to 21 million potential customers. RB Link flights operated by our partner – Malindo Air will initially connect four new towns and two existing cities across Borneo Island and link them to our global network of 29 international destinations via our hub – Brunei International Airport.
The markets in the targeted towns in Borneo are currently underserved. When planning this game-changing initiative we took on board the needs of our guests for enhanced seamless connectivity and affordable services. By providing RB Link services, we are confident air travel will boom in the region, allowing the various towns and its stakeholders to reap the benefits of enhanced air connectivity.
Malaysia is culturally similar to Brunei in many ways. Does this make it easier for you to make RB appealing to the Malaysian traveller?
Yes, the background similarity has helped RB to be positioned as one of the preferred carriers within the region. With the expansion of route networks, it creates value for Brunei Darussalam, RB, Brunei International Airport and Malaysian travellers who are seeking seamless connections.
What sets RB apart from its competitors?
Team RB’s focus on delivering a signature RB customer experience everyday with warm Bruneian hospitality, which is recognised by our guests and reflected in multiple awards that the national airline has received. Providing a signature RB experience and doing little things well is part of our service strategy and is our competitive advantage over other airlines. RB is truly a world-class boutique airline.
How has RB been performing for the past few years?
RB has been awarded by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) – a Five-Star rating for the Major Airline category. The award was presented on September 2019 at the award ceremony held in Los Angeles, USA. APEX rating program is based solely on certified passenger feedback and insights. We are very pleased to share that RB has climbed twelve places to be at number 66th position on the world’s Top 100 airlines on the Skytrax ranking of global airlines. Our goal is to be a four-star Top 50 airline in the world and the team is working hard towards achieving this goal. The enhanced network and signature RB service will assist us in achieving the various corporate goals set for Brunei’s national airline.
What is your general outlook on the future of the aviation industry in Malaysia?
The aviation industry is a very challenging market for airlines globally, set back by intense competition and volatile demand. Nevertheless, the Asia-Pacific region including Malaysia is set to be expanded in terms of passenger traffic growth in the near future.
In your opinion, what is the most important trait for a Country Manager to possess and why?
Given the complexity of the aviation industry, a Country Manager needs to maintain its appropriate engagement characteristic and always be effective to the company and team.
One of the main traits that a Country Manager need is `to think out of the box and be creative’. Because the aviation industry is constantly changing, we always have to be on our toes. We have to constantly re-evaluate the market and reassess our initiatives in order to stay abreast with the dynamics of the market trends. There is always a better way to keep the Company ahead of competitors and stand out to travellers as well as the trade.
Being a Country Manager for an airline can be quite hectic, what do you do to unwind?
I do enjoy simply just taking a day off to spend time with my family or travel. I find that when you travel, you will be rejuvenated by new energy and a new perspective from the places you visit. This helps in generating fresh ideas which I share with my team upon resuming back to work. In the aviation industry, no day is the same; it is such a dynamic environment. That’s why it is important for me to travel, and by broadening your mind, we can broaden new sets of skills that will always prove to be useful in the future.