GallopAir Sdn Bhd, a Brunei-based aviation company, is set to become a key regional air carrier in the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) region, with a strong focus on enhancing air connectivity.
In line with its mission to support BIMP-EAGA’s initiatives, GallopAir is currently participating in the BETCON23 exhibition from 25 to 29 October 2023 at Bridex.
GallopAir aimed to improve regional connectivity and contribute to the BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 will be solidified through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing with the BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) and the EAGA Development Corporation (EDC) on 26 October 2023.
The MoU outlines a scope of cooperation that includes supporting the development of air connectivity within the BIMP-EAGA region, collaborating on initiatives that strengthen air connectivity, cooperating with relevant private sector organisations, and participating in the air connectivity strategic planning in the region.
Speaking about their mission and presence at BETCON23, Cham Chi, Chief Executive Officer of GallopAir, emphasised, “Our aim is to establish GallopAir as the preferred airline connecting BIMP-EAGA nations, fostering economic growth, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people interactions. We consider ourselves not just an airline but a bridge that brings nations and people closer together.”
Operating within the BIMP-EAGA region is a strategic choice as GallopAir’s presence here is driven by its geographical advantage, economic growth potential, boosting the tourism industry and cultural exchanges, facilitation of trade and commerce, regional collaboration, and alignment with Wawasan Brunei 2035.
While the targeted initial launch date will be in the third quarter of 2024, details on the route destinations will be announced closer to the launch. GallopAir’s long-term expansion plans include route and fleet expansion, international presence, sustainability, and collaborations.
One of the primary challenges GallopAir faces is the perception of being fully funded by Chinese investors. In response, Chi clarified, “While our main shareholder, GallopAir Pte Ltd (Singapore), is owned by Shaanxi Tianju Investment Group, we remain eager to invite the participation of the Brunei Government and local Bruneian investors to join us in this exciting endeavour.”
Another challenging query pertains to the funding of GallopAir’s significant aircraft order.
To address this, Chi emphasised its rigorous financing strategy. GallopAir has a
dedicated fleet financing talents in the team and is collaborating with Price
WaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) aviation experts for specialised aircraft financing advice.
GallopAir highlighted the robust aviation leasing and financing business post-pandemic recovery and the keen interest of well-known industry lessors and banks to finance their COMAC aircraft purchases. Furthermore, GallopAir underscored the industry practice within China’s Free Trade Zones, which offer tax incentives for aircraft leasing.
The company expressed its intention to leverage these incentives for effective financing of its fleet.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN