In a significant development for the sultanate, Brunei is poised to become a potential aviation hub for the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) region with the emergence of a new Brunei-based airline, GallopAir. Scheduled to commence operations in the third quarter of 2024, GallopAir is already making waves in the aviation industry.
The airline recently inked a letter of intent to acquire 30 aircraft from the renowned Chinese planemaker, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), in a deal valued at an impressive US$2 billion. This significant agreement was formally sealed at the China-ASEAN expo in Nanning, where it was witnessed by key figures including Hj Amer Hishamuddin, the Permanent Secretary at Brunei’s Ministry of Development, and Daniel Leong, the acting CEO of the Brunei Economic Development Board.
GallopAir’s statement on the deal highlights its potential to bring about “profound implications” not only for Brunei but also for Southeast Asia. It aims to bolster regional connectivity by offering direct flights from Bandar Seri Begawan to various cities in China and the BIMP-EAGA zone.
While details about GallopAir remain relatively scarce, it is anticipated to be only the second airline operator based in Brunei, following in the footsteps of the national carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines. Notably, the Brunei government has not yet issued any official statement about the airline, despite its monumental impact on the nation’s aviation landscape. GallopAir, which lists its office address in Batu Bersurat, has not launched an official website.
As per Reuters reports, China-based Shaanxi Tianju Investment Group holds a stake in GallopAir. However, further information about the airline’s ownership structure is yet to be disclosed, adding an air of mystery to this promising venture.