Ray Sayer, an industry veteran, is to become CEO of Royal Brunei Airways, with effect from 1 September 2007. Sayer is no stranger to the country having lived there in the early 1980s when he was employed with British Airways (BA) as regional manager for Brunei/Sarawak and Sabah.
Brunei in those days was part of the BA Boeing 747 routing from Australia to London. He joined British European Airways, a forerunner of BA, in 1968. with his long career taking in periods as CEO of both GB Airways and Brymon Airways in the UK, and LIAT, operating out of Antigua serving the Caribbean.
Royal Brunei Airlines was first established in 1974 as an independent corporation wholly owned by the government of Brunei Darussalam. As part of an upgraded operation it recently took delivery of a pair of Boeing 777s which are expected to be used on the London ” Sydney route, via Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of the Sultanate of Brunei.
Speaking to ABTN, Sayer said: "I look forward to returning to live in Brunei, of which I have very fond memories in particular all the support Royal Brunei gave me in my British Airways days. I am confident that the experience and contacts I have gathered during my career will prove useful with the challenges that the airline faces."
Sayer is currently living in Bahrain where he was until recently CEO of Bahrain Airport Services (BAS), the ground handling agent, employing 2,500 staff.
It remains to be seen whether under Sayer”s new management, the airline, owned by a Muslim state, continues to be ”dry”. While Saudia continues with its no alcohol policy in deference to national custom, Emirates and Qatar have a much more relaxed attitude leaving choice to the passenger.