Sultan pilots own plane to New Delhi
By Azaraimy HH

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam began his State Visit to India in style on Tuesday, when the beloved ruler piloted his Boeing 747 from Brunei to New Delhi, NewKerala.Com News reported yesterday.

According to the report, His Majesty told a surprised Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed that he does it even when he flies across the seas to the US. The minister was sent to receive the monarch at the Air Force Station, Palam on Tuesday evening.

The report said Ahamed, the minister-in-attendance for the Sultan who is on a four-day visit to India, reached on time, but waited inordinately long for His Majesty to appear from the plane.

When he did, His Majesty explained to the bewildered minister that he was coming out from the cockpit because he had been piloting the aircraft, the web site reported.

His Majesty, 61, who also holds the portfolios of finance and defence, told the minister that he had flown the aircraft for five and a half hours to reach the Indian capital.

His Majesty has earned his pilot licence from London in 1967, the report said.

This is the first visit by His Majesty to India in over a decade. Brunei, which does not have any indigenous industry, is likely to pitch for more trade and investment from India, the report stated.

It is increasingly looking at India as a knowledge power and is keen on expanding the Indian presence in its IT sector. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd May 2008)