Malaysia, Singapore reach deal to end air dispute

Malaysia, Singapore reach deal to end air dispute

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Singapore have agreed that in the spirit of bilateral cooperation, Singapore will withdraw the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport while Malaysia will indefinitely suspend its permanent Restricted Area (RA) over Pasir Gudang.

This agreement was outlined in a joint statement issued by Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook (and his Singaporean counterpart Khaw Boon Wan today.

“This agreement was implemented by the civil aviation authorities of both countries yesterday (April 5) at 11.59pm (2359hrs).

“With this agreement, the Transport Ministers look forward to FlyFireFly Sdb Bhd’s (Firefly) commencement of flights to Seletar Airport effective April this year,“ it said.

Both Transport Ministers also noted that a High-Level Committee has 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.

The statement added that both Loke and Khaw welcomed these positive steps and look forward to further strengthening bilateral cooperation.

The air disagreement first surfaced on Nov 23, when Malaysian carrier Firefly said it would suspend all flights to Singapore from Dec 1, the day it was supposed to move its operations from Changi to Seletar Airport.

Malaysia objected to the new landing procedures for Seletar, claiming they would impose height restrictions and affect development in Pasir Gudang.

On Dec 25, Malaysia established a permanent restricted area (RA) for the purpose of military activities over Pasir Gudang. This means that flights from any country, including from Malaysia, would need prior approval from the Royal Malaysian Air Force to operate in that zone between 2,000 and 5,000 feet.

Malaysia had objected to the use of the instrument landing system at Seletar airport because aircraft guided by the system would violate Malaysian airspace. The airport is just two kilometres from Pasir Gudang in Johor.

This agreement comes ahead of the ninth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat, scheduled for April 8 and 9 here. — Bernama

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