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GPS-based instrument approach procedures to replace ILS for Seletar Airport via joint effort between Singapore and Malaysia

An instrument approach based on the Global Positioning System (GPS) is in the wings for Seletar Airport as the civil aviation authorities of Singapore and Malaysia collaborate to develop the new system in replacement of the controversial Instrument Landing System (ILS).

Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced on Mon (8 Apr) at a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Anthony Loke at Kuala Lumpur International Airport that both Singapore and Malaysia “will introduce GPS-based instrument approaches from both the north over Pasir Gudang and south over Singapore island”.

“This is because”, he explained, “airplanes take off and land into the wind”, and “with north-east and south-west wind directions at different times of the year, both approaches are needed”.

Khaw added that the GPS-based instrument approach procedures will be published as soon as the system is finalised.

“We have to discuss, both regulators have to sit down and discuss it. And once that’s settled, we should be able to publish. I personally don’t see many obstacles,” CNA quoted him as saying.

“High-level committee” comprising Transport Ministries representatives convened to review LOA terms and conditions, Malaysia to take back airspace management

During the press conference on Monday, Loke announced the setting up of a high-level committee, which will be co-chaired by Singapore’s Permanent Secretary of Transport and Malaysia’s Secretary General of Transport, for the purpose of reviewing the terms and conditions set under the Letter of Agreement (LOA) which was signed in 1974.

Malay Mail reported him as saying that the airspace over Pasir Gudang is Malaysia’s “sovereign airspace which has been a long-standing issue”, and that “after 45-years of delegating that airspace to Singapore, it’s high time right now for us to review the agreement”.

Citing Malaysia’s expertise in airspace management, further cemented by the establishment of the upcoming Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre in Sepang, Loke added that with such “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”.

CNA quoted Khaw as saying, in turn: “I explained to Minister Loke that the current arrangement was brokered by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) at a 1973 Regional Air Navigation Meeting.

“It was agreed upon by states in the region, and approved by the ICAO Council,” he added.

Khaw noted that “Minister Loke stressed that the review was important to Malaysia.

“I assured him that Singapore would approach the review with an open mind, bearing in mind the many stakeholders involved and the critical need to ensure safety and efficiency in a busy airspace.

“With goodwill and compromise, I am sure that a win-win solution which does not undermine each other’s core interests can be found,” he said.

The review was previously indicated by Singapore and Malaysia in a joint statement on Sat (6 Apr), in which it was stated 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.”

“Both Transport Ministers welcome these positive steps and look forward to further strengthening bilateral cooperation,” the statement read.

Malaysian low-cost airline Firefly’s services to resume on 21 Apr, will operate from Seletar Airport

The Malaysian Transport Minister had also confirmed during the press conference that FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd, Malaysian Airlines Berhad’s subsidiary company, will resume its flight services into Singapore starting 21 Apr.

Malay Mail reported that according to Loke, Malindo has already submitted applications to Singapore’s airport authorities for permission to land in Seletar.

Singapore and Malaysia announced in their joint statement on Sat that “the Transport Ministers look forward to FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd’s commencement of flights to Seletar Airport effective April 2019”.

The Republic’s withdrawal of the ILS from Seletar Airport and Malaysia’s “indefinite’ suspension of the Restricted Area over Pasir Gudang were also announced in the joint statement.

The agreement was put in place by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia “in the spirit of bilateral cooperation” on Fri (5 Apr) at 11.59 pm.