Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said his ministry remains committed to its position that aircraft landing at Singapore’s Seletar Airport cannot use the airspace over Pasir Gudang, Johor.
Malaysia’s stance will be communicated to Singapore’s Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on Tuesday (Jan 8) when the two sides meet.
“Hopefully, our meeting on Jan 8 will arrive at an agreement over this issue that needs to be resolved,” Saifuddin was quoted saying by Berita Harian.
The biggest loser is Malaysia’s Firefly airline
Early December last year, Malaysia’s premium short-haul airline Firefly revealed that the airline has incurred ‘significant’ loss following its recent flight suspension to Singapore which began on December 1 by the Malaysian civil aviation authority.
Firefly outgoing chief executive officer Ignatius Ong said Singapore was the airline’s second largest route from Subang after Penang, which was scheduled to transfer its operations from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport.
Singapore was Firefly’s second-largest destination from Subang after Penang, with 20 flights daily.
“We previously had 10 slots of flights (in-bound and outbound) every day between Subang International Airport and Changi Airport in Singapore. Without this route network, it’s a huge loss for us,” he told NST Business.
Seletar Airport handles all scheduled turboprop flights in Singapore.
Firefly is the only airline operating turboprop flights between Singapore and Malaysia. The airline previously operated 20 flights daily to Changi.
Following Firefly’s move to Seletar Airport, Changi Airport said their previous slots had been allocated to another airline. As such, the airline no longer have any landing spots in Changi.
Firefly to lose up to RM20m (S$6.6m) a month over Seletar suspension
A report by the Malaysian Insight on Friday (Jan 11) quoted Mr Izham as saying that the suspension has caused a “huge dent” in Malaysia Airlines Group (MAG) of which Firefly is a subsidiary.
Malaysia’s sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional, owns both national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Firefly.
“The exposure, the revenue lost (from the suspension) is RM15 million, so we’re looking at RM15 million to RM20 million revenue lost on a monthly basis,” he said.
“We were forced to bite the bullet, cancel the flights and reimburse our passengers … We need a resolution very quickly.”
Firefly seeks Putrajaya’s help to reclaim Changi landing spot in airspace impasse
Firefly Airline chief executive officer Ignatius Ong said the company is appealing to Putrajaya to step in to try to reclaim its Changi landing rights until the issue with Seletar is resolved.
“We are urging the Malaysia government to assist, since this is (government-to-government) now,” Mr Ong told The Malaysian Insight.
He declined to say if Putrajaya has responded to the airline’s appeal.
If you need a primer on what’s what, read further:
- Big brother M’sia wants their airspace back from Little brother S’pore – here’s everything you need to know
- S’pore once controlled the entirety of M’sia’s airspace but handed back authority to M’sia in 1973
- M’sia MOT tones down ‘sovereignty’ rhetoric, highlights technical reasons for ILS instead
- M’sia restricts use of airspace from Jan 2, a day before the launch of Seletar’s ILS
- Here’s the map of the ‘Permanent Restricted Airspace’ established by Malaysia