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Top Exec Quits Brunei Airline

May 2, 2002

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (AP) _ The executive director of Royal Brunei Airlines resigned amid the carrier’s attempt to post a profit.

Pengiran Ali Ahmad, 52, who was also the company’s chief executive, ``opted for an early retirement,″ the government-owned carrier’s chairman Pehin Yahya said Wednesday.

``The board of directors has accepted his decision,″ Pehin said.

He said Pengiran Ali will continue to assist executives at airline until a new CEO is named.

Pehin said that the airline plans to accelerate its turnaround program under the new official and achieve profitability by next March.

Pengiran Ali joined the airline as a sales executive in the 1970s. He was appointed as executive director in September 1999.

The airline began a restructuring plan in March, when it abolished a rung of middle-management posts to cut costs and retrenched more than 40 senior and middle-level managers.

Financial records are not publicly available, but the airline is believed to have made losses every year since its launch 27 years ago.

The airline flies between the capital of this tiny but oil-rich sultanate and destinations in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It is believed to have just 10 planes but employs around 2,000 people.

Officials say losses was recently reduced to 36 million Brunei dollars ($19.5 million) from 100 million Brunei dollars ($54 million) two years ago by cost cutting and tighter management.

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