Malaysia and Singapore end airspace dispute

PHOTO: The Straits Times

PETALING JAYA - Firefly, which suspended its flights to Singapore's Seletar Airport since December, will resume the route this month after Malaysia and Singapore reached an agreement over an airspace dispute between both countries.

Under the agreement, Singapore will withdraw the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport.

Malaysia, on its part, will indefinitely suspend its permanent Restricted Area over Pasir Gudang, Johor.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke and his Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan said the agreement, made in the spirit of bilateral co-operation, was implemented by the civil aviation authorities of both countries starting at 11.59pm on Friday.

"With this agreement, the transport ministers look forward to FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd's commencement of flights to Seletar Airport effective April 2019," the ministers said.

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, 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.

"Both transport ministers welcome these positive steps and look forward to further strengthening bilateral co-operation," it added.