Thanks Singapore, but high time Malaysia manages own airspace, says Loke

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook and Singapore’s Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan during a press conference in Sepang April 8, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook and Singapore’s Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan during a press conference in Sepang April 8, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

SEPANG, April 8 — A high level committee co-chaired by representatives from the Malaysian and Singaporean Transport Ministries will discuss Malaysia’s intention to take over the management of its airspace near the island nation.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke, during a joint press conference today with his Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan, announced the formation of the committee which Loke said would review the conditions set under the Letter of Agreement (LOA) that was brokered and signed in 1974.

“That is our sovereign airspace which has been a long-standing issue and we wish to manage our own airspace.

“We think that after 45-years of delegating that airspace to Singapore, it’s high time right now for us to review the agreement,” said Loke.

He said the country’s capabilities in managing air traffic can be seen in the upcoming Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre to be situated in Sepang.

“With that expertise and equipment, we think that we are ready to manage our own airspace, which is top among our priorities in reviewing our agreement in Singapore,” Loke said. 

Loke today also announced that local airline company FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines Berhad, will resume flights into the island nation beginning April 21.

“Firefly will resume their operations to Singapore, particularly flying to the Seletar airport beginning April 21.

“Besides Firefly, the other Malaysian airline who are interested to fly to Seletar is Malindo Air,” Loke added.

He said Malindo had already submitted applications to Singapore’s airport authorities for permission to land in Seletar.

Loke hoped for more flights at the now civilian airport after its inception as a military airbase during the British colonial period.

The developments come on the heels of a joint statement issued by both the Malaysian and Singaporean Transport Ministries on Saturday, where they announced a resolution to the airspace restriction disputes over Pasir Gudang, Johor.

The announcement detailed Singapore’s decision to withdraw the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedure for the Seletar Airport paired with Malaysia agreeing to indefinitely suspend its permanent Restricted Area (RA) status over Pasir Gudang.

Firefly’s services were suspended from December 1, after they were not allowed to fly into Singapore for failing to obtain approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia to move its operations from the main terminal in Changi to the Seletar. 

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