Brunei-based startup GallopAir is meeting with investors ahead of its planned launch in the second half of 2024 and less than a month after announcing a USD2 billion order to buy 30 COMAC aircraft.

Gallop Air CEO Cham Chi told Reuters that talks with "several prospective investors" are underway and he is also pursuing "opportunities for collaboration and investment" with the Brunei government and local companies. He also indicated that he had also held talks with banks and lessors about funding the aircraft acquisitions.

The order included ARJ21-700s (some with a VIP configuration), ARJ21-700(F)s, and C919s (neither Gallop Air nor COMAC provided a breakdown of types). When delivered, it will make Gallop Air the first operator of the C919 outside mainland China and only the second non-Chinese operator of the ARJ21-700.

Gallop Air is owned and chaired by Chinese businessman Yang Qiang, through a Singapore-based entity. Yang is also chairman of the privately owned Shaanxi Tianju Investment Group. That entity announced the order, which was signed on the sidelines of the recent China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, via the WeChat social media platform, on September 18.

"Gallop Air will join hands with COMAC’s domestically produced jets, the ARJ21 and C919, to build on Brunei’s soaring reputation for quality and branding in Asia and Oceania,” read a statement issued by the Tianju group.

China's Global Times, a Chinese government outlet, recently reported that Gallop Air would "strengthen Brunei's aviation ties with China", naming Nanning and Guilin in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region as likely first destinations. Data from the ch-aviation schedules module reveals that local state-owned carrier Royal Brunei Airlines (BI, Bandar Seri Begawan) presently operates scheduled services between Bandar Seri Begawan and three Chinese airports, Beijing Daxing International, Hangzhou, and Nanning.