Airspace arrangement will impact stakeholders

The current Singapore-Malaysia airspace arrangements have been working well, so any proposed changes will impact many stakeholders, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) said today.

“Consultations will therefore be required to minimise the impact on airlines and passengers,” it said in a statement issued in response to Malaysia Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s comments on airspace issues at Parliament this morning.

MOT said it noted that Loke had made several comments with regard to the publication of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures for Seletar Airport in Singapore.

It was reported today that Malaysia will immediately issue a protest note to the Singapore government over the latter’s decision to operate its ILS for the Seletar Airport.

Loke reportedly said that Singapore’s move could affect development in Pasir Gudang (Johor) as well as affect shipping operations at Pasir Gudang Port, which is located near the airport.

He added that the government decided not to allow Singapore to broadcast its ILS, with the decision conveyed to Singapore on Nov 28 and Nov 29.

In clarifying this, Singapore’s MOT said: “They (the ILS procedures) were published in accordance with Singapore’s responsibilities under the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements, as well as the bilateral arrangements we have with Malaysia.”

Furthermore, said MOT, the ILS procedures were designed to align with the existing flight profiles into Seletar Airport “which have been used for decades”.

“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 in the Straits of Johor would not be affected. In fact, the ILS procedures will enhance safety for all users and residents,” the statement added.

Singapore’s MOT said it noted Malaysia’s desire to provide air traffic services for the airspace.

It added that any proposal should ensure that the safety and efficiency of air traffic is not compromised and must be in accordance with ICAO standards, processes and procedures.

“Singapore and Malaysia are close neighbours who have had a long history of cooperation and friendly competition. We need to work together to tackle our common challenges and find constructive ways to resolve our differences when interests diverge.

“With goodwill, a win-win outcome is possible. We will approach this recent development in the same spirit,” MOT said.

Loke was earlier responding to a question in Parliament from Hassan Abdul Karim (Harapan-Pasir Gudang) who wanted to know whether the development in the Pasir Gudang area, including the port, would be adversely affected following Singapore’s move to increase commercial flight activities out of the Seletar Airport, just two kilometres from the national border.

Hassan also wanted to know when the government would reclaim the delegated airspace in southern Johorfrom Singapore.

Loke said that on Nov 29, the government informed Singapore of the country’s plan to reclaim its sovereign airspace in stages.

In responding to that, Singapore’s MOT said: “Sovereignty is a fundamental principle of international law. Singapore respects Malaysia’s sovereignty. At the same time, international law is clear that cross-border airspace management is not incompatible with sovereignty.”


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