After transport ministers meet, Singapore moots extension of Seletar ILS suspension

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (left) meets his Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan in the republic January 23, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Anthony Loke
Transport Minister Anthony Loke (left) meets his Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan in the republic January 23, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Anthony Loke

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Singaporean Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has suggested today to extend the suspension of the instrument landing system (ILS) for the republic’s Seletar Airport that affects the airspace over southern Johor.

In a Facebook post following a meeting with Transport Minister Anthony Loke in Singapore, Khaw said the move, together with Malaysia’s suspension of the restricted area (RA) over the airspace, would give more time for both parties to discuss the matter.

“I suggested that we extend the mutual suspension of Malaysia’s Restricted Area over Pasir Gudang and Singapore’s Instrument Landing System procedures at Seletar Airport, to give our officials more discussion time to reach a win-win outcome.

“He will take my suggestion back to his Cabinet colleagues,” Khaw wrote.

In his reciprocal Facebook post, Loke, however, did not mention the proposal.

“We agreed on the way forward to solve the Seletar Airport issue and the Civil Aviation Authority of both countries will continue the discussion on the technical aspects,” Loke wrote.

Both, however, agreed that the meeting was fruitful and constructive, with Khaw calling it a “heart-to-heart discussion”.

“This is the third time we meet, after previous ones in Putrajaya and Bangkok last year. Minister Loke and I will meet again, after the Lunar New Year, to continue the airspace discussion,” Khaw said.

Earlier this month, both sides agreed to mutually suspend the ILS and RA, following a bilateral meeting between Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and his counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

In December last year, Singapore made public its intention to implement the system by this month, which Putrajaya said would inevitably affect the development of Pasir Gudang as it would be subject to the height restrictions of the ILS.

The ILS would have restricted future developments in Pasir Gudang as any structures must be under the safety height buffer, which was as low as 54m for anything built just 3km away from Seletar, according to Loke.

In response, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia published a Notice To Airmen on December 25, last year, informing the aviation community of its establishment of a permanent restricted area for the purpose of military activities over Pasir Gudang with effect from January 2, 2019.