SEPANG: Firefly will resume its flights to Singapore from April 21 following the republic's withdrawal of its Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said another Malaysian airline - Malindo Air - has also registered interest in flying into Singapore via Seletar.
“Last Saturday, Malaysia and Singapore issued a joint statement to announce the way forward in terms of the Seletar Airport issue.
“Both agreed that Singapore would withdraw the ILS approach into Seletar, while Malaysia suspend indefinitely its permanent Restricted Area (RA) over Pasir Gudang.
“This will enable aircraft to fly into Seletar using a visual approach.
“We are happy to say that with this move, Firefly will resume operations to Singapore via Seletar beginning April 21.
“Besides Firefly, the other interested airline is Malindo, and they have already applied to airport authorities in Singapore to fly to Seletar. So hopefully, more flights (into Seletar) will resume in the near future.
“In the spirit of bilateral relations, I think this is good for our cooperation and our best way forward,” said Loke at a joint press conference with his Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan here after a bilateral meeting at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday (April 8).
The meeting was held ahead of the annual Malaysia-Singapore leaders’ retreat here.
Firefly had suspended its operations to Singapore on Dec 1 last year following Malaysia's protest of the ILS procedures for Seletar Airport.
With the withdrawal of the ILS procedures, Malaysia and Singapore's civil aviation authorities will work on developing Global Positioning System (GPS)-based approach procedures for Seletar Airport.
Khaw said due to the north-east and south-west wind occurring at different times in a year, the GPS-based instrument approaches would be from the north over Pasir Gudang and from the south in Singapore.
Meanwhile, Loke said Malaysia is well prepared to take back the control of air traffic services of its airspace from Singapore.
“We think that after 45 years of delegating that airspace to Singapore, it is high time now for us to review the agreement which was set in 1974.
“We are prepared in terms of technical readiness. We have invested over the years a lot of money on technical equipment and air traffic control readiness.
“We are building the new KL ATCC (Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre), which will be based in Sepang, and with that expertise and equipment, we think we are ready to manage our own airspace.
“That's why reviewing the 1974 agreement is our top priority,” said Loke.
FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd operates the Firefly air carrier and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines Bhd.
Firefly suspended all its flights to Singapore since Dec 1, saying its services would resume once the relevant authorities sorted out regulatory issues with regard to its move to Seletar.
On Dec 5 last year, Loke told the Dewan Rakyat that Malaysia would issue a protest note to Singapore over the operation of the ILS for Seletar Airport near its border with Johor.
The protest note by Wisma Putra follows Singapore’s decision to start broadcasting ILS early this year despite Malaysia’s decision not to allow it on grounds that it will infringe the nation’s sovereignty and airspace near Pasir Gudang just 2km away.
The statement said both ministers noted that a high-level committee had 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.
Malaysia and Singapore end airspace dispute