Singapore withdraws Seletar Airport ILS, Malaysia suspends Pasir Gudang restricted area

Singapore withdraws Seletar Airport ILS, Malaysia suspends Pasir Gudang restricted area

Seletar airport
Seletar Airport (Image: Changi Airport Group)

SINGAPORE: Singapore has withdrawn the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport while Malaysia has indefinitely suspended its permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang, both countries said on Saturday (Apr 6).

Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and his Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke said in a joint statement that the agreement was made “in the spirit of bilateral cooperation”.

The agreement was implemented by the civil aviation authorities of both countries on Friday, the ministers said.

READ: Singapore, Malaysia airspace dispute: What we know and timeline

“With this agreement, the Transport Ministers look forward to FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd’s commencement of flights to Seletar Airport effective April 2019,” they added.

Malaysian budget airline Firefly suspended its flights to Singapore in December last year, after it was unable to obtain approval from Malaysia’s aviation regulator to move its operations from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport.

Changi Airport Group had earlier announced the move of turbo-prop operations to Seletar in a bid to optimise the use of resources at Changi. 

READ: Airspace talks must be based on ‘technical and operational’ considerations: Vivian Balakrishnan

READ: Malaysia 'seems to be using technical excuse’ to change airspace arrangements: Singapore's Khaw Boon Wan 

Singapore provides air traffic services over parts of southern peninsular Malaysia that is within the Kuala Lumpur Flight Information Region. This was an arrangement approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 1973. 

In December, Malaysia said it wants to reclaim its "delegated airspace" in southern Johor, citing concerns over sovereignty and national interest.

It also raised concerns about the ILS procedures for Singapore's Seletar Airport, saying that the flight path will impact developments and shipping operations at Johor's Pasir Gudang.

Singapore, in response, said that the ILS simply puts on paper the existing flight paths, making safety rules clearer and more transparent.

READ: Southern Johor airspace arrangements 'have worked well', any changes will affect many: Singapore

The statement by the transport ministers on Saturday said that a “high-level committee” has been set up to review the Operational Letter of Agreement between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Area Control Centres Concerning Singapore Arrivals, Departures and Overflights 1974.

“Both Transport Ministers welcome these positive steps and look forward to further strengthening bilateral cooperation,” it added.

Source: CNA/cy