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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Any changes to the management of southern Johor airspace will affect many stakeholders, Singapore said today after Malaysia announced intentions to reclaim its airspace.
Singapore’s Transport Ministry said current airspace arrangements have been working “well” and facilitated air traffic growth.
“Hence, any proposed changes will impact many stakeholders. Consultations will therefore be required to minimise the impact on airlines and passengers,” Singapore’s Transport Ministry said in a statement.
Putrajaya announced earlier today that it would be seeking to reclaim its airspace in phases between 2019 and 2023, even though Malaysia has allowed Singapore to use the delegated airspace in southern Johor since 1974.
Singapore also pointed out that under the present airspace arrangements, the provision of air traffic services in the airspace over southern Johor was delegated to Singapore.
“In 1973, Malaysia, Singapore, and other regional States agreed on arrangements to ensure efficient air traffic flows into, out of and overflying Singapore. These arrangements were subsequently approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). A bilateral agreement between Malaysia and Singapore was signed in 1974 to operationalise these arrangements,” said Singapore’s Transport Ministry.
It described airspace in the region as one of the “most complex in the world”.
In Parliament earlier today, Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke said that in addition to reclaiming the airspace, the government would also send Singapore a protest note over the latter’s decision to operate its instrument landing system (ILS) for the Seletar Airport near the border with Johor, despite opposition by Malaysia.
Loke said in Parliament that Putrajaya has disallowed Singapore from broadcasting the new ILS on November 28 and 29 this year, in order to protect the sovereignty of airspace and development around Pasir Gudang in Johor.
Budget airline Firefly had recently suspended its operations after it failed to get the green light from Malaysian authorities to relocate its operations from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport.
Loke and his Singaporean counterpart are expected to address the issue later today.
Loke’s Singaporean counterpart however said that in 2014, Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority informed Malaysia’s transport ministry of the move of turboprop operations to Seletar Airport.
“In December 2017, the ILS procedures were shared with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). However, despite repeated reminders, we received no substantive response from CAAM until late November 2018,” said Singapore’s Transport Ministry.
“The ILS procedures have also been designed to take into account existing structures at Pasir Gudang. The procedures therefore do not impose any additional impact on other airspace users as well as businesses and residents in Johor. Also, there are existing procedures and equipment to ensure that shipping on the Straits of Johor would not be affected.”