Royal Brunei Boeing 777’s now a Perth regular! – Updated

*** UPDATED – Since this blog entry was created in 2010, Royal Brunei Airlines have sadly ceased all flights to Perth. The last flight was operated in October 2011 by an Airbus A320, the Boeing 777’s being removed from the route some months earlier. As of May 2012, the only Australian destination served by Royal Brunei is Melbourne four times weekly. ***

Well, despite my scepticism about it ever actually happening, Royal Brunei commenced regular Boeing 777 services into Perth on November 30, 2010, when V8-BLE landed at around 5.50pm local time. Although not the first Royal Brunei Triple 7 to come into Perth, 30 November marked the start of regular services with the type. Whether they will prove to be a long-term feature remains to be seen, but, for the time being at least, they make a great addition to the Perth scene.

V8-BLE first flew on July 31, 2001, and was delivered to Singapore Airlines as 9V-SVC on August 16. It was delivered on lease to Royal Brunei on 27 August, 2010, and is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines.

V8-BLE Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 777-212 ER

With superb late afternoon light, Lima Echo comes in to land as flight BI 065 from Bandar Seri Begwan (BWN). Flight time is around 5 hours 20 minutes, which for an Extended Range (ER) aircraft is a pretty short hop.

V8-BLE Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 777-212 ER

My wife, who’s a graphic artist, reckons the Royal Brunei livery looks ‘old fashioned’. I think the airline would prefer to say it symbolises quality and trustworthiness. Either way, I think it’s a great looking livery that looks stunning on the Big Boeing Twin. Put it this way, when you compare it to the boring fuselages of Air France and Lufthansa, I know which I prefer.

V8-BLE Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 777-212 ER

I’m not normally a big fan of the side on shot, but occasionally you get one that’s a winner, and this is one of those. Great light, the sun at just the right angle, and a clear blue sky make for a great shot.

Oh, and one other vital ingredient – good intel! Thanks must go to Liam Gibb for the heads up on this flight – I had just enough time to race home, grab my camera and head down to South Guildford before BLE came in. Thanks Liam!

Being a weekday evening (Tuesday), I thought there’d be a few more planes come in around the time of the Brunei, so I hung around to see what I could bag – I wasn’t disappointed . . .

VH-NHO Network Aviation Fokker 100

First cab off the rank was Network Aviation’s Fokker 100 VH-NHO, which actually arrived just a couple of minutes before the Brunei. I literally just had time to jump out of the car and get this shot as she came in on finals for runway 21. A great way to get things underway!

VH-FNP Skywest Airbus A320-231

Around 10 minutes after the Brunei, Skywest’s latest addition to the fleet, Airbus A320 VH-FNP, arrived on a flight from Cloudbreak in the Pilbarra. This aircraft operates almost exclusively on this route and provides a significant capacity increase over the Fokker 100, which Skywest also operates on various minesite services.

VH-FNP Skywest A320-231

Although only taken 10 minutes after the arrival of the Brunei, you can see from this shot that the light was getting noticeably softer. The reason was smoke from a bushfire to the south of Perth that was being blown over on the sea breeze. At this point it made for a great effect by softening the light and making the shadows less dark.

VH-VGP Jetstar Airbus A320-232 Powederfinger Logojet

Just 10 minutes after the Skywest A320, what should arrive but the Jetstar Powderfinger Logojet! I could hardly believe it . . . within 20 minutes the sky had gone from clear blue to a smoggy, literally choking, haze. Oh well . . . I suppose it matches the title of the band’s tour, ‘Sunsets’, and it does give the Jetstar silver a certain quality that you don’t normally get . . . I’ll take it!

After the arrival of the Jetstar, the smoke got worse and was killing my throat, so I called it a day and headed for home after a very fruitful 25 minutes!

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