Firefly seeks Malaysian government help to regain Changi Airport landing slot

A Firefly Airlines turbo-prop plane (PHOTO: Facebook/Firefly Airlines)

Firefly Airlines is seeking the Malaysian government’s intervention in regaining its landing slot at Changi International Airport, amid the ongoing Seletar Airport airspace dispute between Singapore and Malaysia.

The short-haul arm of Malaysia Airlines failed to obtain aviations approvals to land in Seletar Airport, forcing it to suspend its flights into Singapore since 1 December, reported The Malaysian Insight.

Its previous landing spot in Changi Airport had been allocated to another airline. The airline had been running 20 flights daily to Changi, from places such as Subang Jaya, Kuantan and Ipoh.

Almost 13,000 passengers affected

Firefly chief executive officer Ignatius Ong said that almost 13,000 passengers were affected by the suspension, resulting in a major loss of revenue for the airline. About half of the passengers took up Firefly’s offer to transfer to Malaysia Airlines flights, while the rest were refunded.

He added that the company is appealing to the Malaysian government to intervene to help it reclaim its Changi landing rights until the Seletar airspace issue is resolved.

“We are urging the Malaysia government to assist, since this is (government-to-government) now,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Was to be 1st operational airline at new Seletar terminal

Firefly was to be the first commercial airline to start operations on 1 December at the new Seletar terminal, which is meant for turbo-prop aircraft and has a capacity for 700,000 passengers yearly.

The indefinite delay in issuance of Firefly’s landing rights at Seletar stems from Malaysia’s objection to new Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures being proposed for the airport.

Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke has said the ILS infringes on Malaysia’s sovereignty, while Singapore insists that under current arrangements agreed upon by both countries, the Republic is responsible for putting in place the flight procedures in the delegated airspace, which include those going into and out of all airports in Singapore.

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