Clearer skies and improved visibility a big relief for airlines


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 15 Sep 2019

PETALING JAYA: All flights in and out of the Sultan Azlan Shah (LTSAS) airport in Ipoh have resumed following improved visibility.

The airport had to cease operations on Friday morning when visibility dropped to 2.5km due to the haze.

LTSAS airport manager Mohd Ali Osman said the airport recorded ground visibility of 8km as at 4pm yesterday.

“It is better today (Saturday) compared to only 2.5km on Friday.

“So far, the visibility is getting better. No flights were delayed.”

He also said the rescheduled flights took off from the airport yesterday.

It was reported that over a thousand air travellers were left stranded at the LTSAS airport as flights were cancelled due to the worsening haze blanketing many parts of the country.

A Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) spokesman said that flights at both KLIA and KLIA2 terminals are operating as usual.

“We have not recorded any delay due to the haze. Nevertheless, we are working closely with all airlines and air traffic control of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia to monitor the situation, including continuously exchanging data on haze and visibility reports,” she said.MAHB also called on passengers to check and reconfirm their flights with the respective airlines ahead of the scheduled journey.

As at 5pm yesterday, three areas in Malaysia have recorded very unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) levels while 32 others have unhealthy API -- a new record of places affected since the start of this year’s haze season.

According to the Department of Environment data, API levels in Tangkak, Johor was 208, while Samarahan and Kuching in Sarawak had API levels of 204 and 222 respectively.

Six places in Sarawak, two areas in Sabah along with 24 in Peninsular Malaysia had unhealthy API readings between 101 and 200.

The haze situation has remained moderate over most of Sabah with Tawau district (that borders Indonesia’s Kalimantan) recording unhealthy API since early yesterday. The readings stood at 139 as at 5pm.As for Ipoh, the API levels have been moderate in Tanjung Malim and Seri Manjung since 7am, while the readings in Tasek and Pegoh have been moderate since 3pm.

An API reading of 0 to 50 is good while 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above deemed hazardous.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) said the early morning rain yesterday had improved the API readings, especially in the Klang Valley.

Its director-general Jailan Simon said the unhealthy API levels at Johan Setia in Klang that was above 200 had dropped after the rain.

“However, in the western region of Sarawak that had seen a drop in API levels two days ago, the readings are rising again as the wind brings haze from southern Borneo where there are still many hotspots.

“The effects of the rain are usually temporary as long as there are still forest fires and winds are still blowing, bringing the fires to our area,” he said.

Jailan also noted the department will continue cloud-seeding operations, especially in areas that warrant atmospheric conditions to help mitigate the impact of the haze.

“Our officers are making preparation and we expect to start on Monday,” he added.

The Health Ministry has called on organisers to postpone all outdoor activities considering the unhealthy API.

“Extreme physical activity will increase the risk of haze. The increased rate of respiration during physical activities will lead to increased air inhalation,” it said.

The ministry’s advice came following a national-level health event involving some 12,000 participants that was cancelled yesterday in Melaka following the worsening haze condition.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia will support Indonesia in any way possible that is fit in tackling the haze problem.

She said Malaysia had already conveyed the message to Indonesia. However, up until now, there was no such request.

“Our embassy had stated its intention to channel whatever support or aid needed by them (Indonesia) to put out the fires.

“We are ready if and when they accept the offer from us,” Bernama reported her as saying in Putrajaya.

Yeo said since Asean presently did not have any transboundary haze Act at the regional level, the enforcement in relation to the haze problem had to be dealt with according to the individual country.“Therefore, Indonesia should do the necessary to investigate and take action against those who have acted against the law.”

Yeo said more cloud-seeding procedures would take place within he next few days.

She however said what was important now was to put out the forest fires in Indonesia.


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