SINGAPORE: Malaysian Airlines subsidiary Firefly has been unable to obtain approval from Malaysia's civil aviation regulator to operate at Seletar Airport, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Saturday (Nov 24) in response to media queries.
Firefly had confirmed earlier this week that flights to Singapore will be suspended from Dec 1.
It cited the need to clear with the relevant authorities "remaining matters in relation to the Singapore authority's plans to move turbo-prop operations from Changi International to Seletar".
The new passenger terminal at Seletar Airport began operations last week, with scheduled turboprop flights operating from December.
Changi Airport Group had said that relocating “smaller and slower aircraft operations” to Seletar would help optimise the use of resources at Changi.
Giving a timeline of events, CAAS said that in 2014, it had informed Malaysia's Ministry of Transport and Firefly of the relocation of turboprop flights from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport, and that Firefly had agreed to this relocation.
"As with any other relocation of an airline’s operation, Changi Airport Group (CAG) subsequently consulted Firefly on the timeline for the shift," it said.
In July 2018, CAG formally informed Firefly that its flights would be relocated to Seletar Airport on Dec 1, 2018, to which Firefly agreed, said CAAS.
"However, on Nov 14, 2018, Firefly informed CAG that it was unable to obtain approval from its regulator, CAAM (Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia), to operate into Seletar Airport."
CAAS said it has been asking its Malaysian counterpart to share any regulatory concerns about the move, adding that Singapore has made "all preparations and approved all applications" by Firefly to operate to and from Seletar Airport.
The airport also meets relevant International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements on airport design and operations, CAAS noted.
"Singapore awaits Malaysia’s clarification of these concerns so that both parties can dialogue constructively," the authority said.
"Singapore had already conveyed to Malaysia that we stand ready to work with them on airspace issues in the interest of international civil aviation and bilateral cooperation," it added.
"These are however not related to the shift of Firefly’s operations at Seletar Airport."
FIREFLY PASSENGERS MOVED TO MALAYSIA AIRLINES
At Changi Airport, Firefly currently operates 20 daily turboprop flights to and from Subang, Ipoh and Kuantan.
The airline said it has succeeded in moving many of its affected passengers to Malaysia Airlines flights.
For Subang–Singapore and Singapore-Kuantan routes, Firefly said it would try its best to accommodate passengers on available flights operated by Malaysia Airlines with no cost or “full refund within 30 working days”.
On the Singapore–Ipoh route, full refund will be made within 30 working days as well, or passengers can change to another destination operated by Firefly at no additional cost.
However, Firefly noted that it will not provide any compensation for missed tours, connecting flights with other airlines, cancellation for hotel bookings or any other out of pocket expenses incurred due to the route suspension from Dec 1.
“We are doing our best to minimise the disruption by providing forward notice and a list of service recovery options to assist affected passengers to make their preferred arrangements,” it said.