GPS-based system for Seletar for both nations

The new procedures will ensure safety for flights departing and landing at Seletar Airport, says Khaw


CIVIL aviation authorities of Malaysia and Singapore are working on a global positioning system (GPS)-based landing system to replace the instrument landing system (ILS) for the Seletar Airport in the island republic.

The announcement came three days after both countries agreed “in the spirit of bilateral cooperation” for Singapore to withdraw the ILS procedures for Seletar Airport and Malaysia will indefinitely suspend its permanent restricted area over Pasir Gudang, Johor.

Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the new procedures will ensure safety for flights departing and landing at Seletar Airport.

“We will have to discuss with both regulators — Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

“Once that is settled, the system will be finalised. I personally do not see any major obstacle to finalise it. There are alternative landing instruments we can consider,” he told a joint press conference with Transport Minister Anthony Loke at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday.

“Some procedures are actually more conducive given that airplanes are equipped with it. Since there are some difficulties with the ILS, I think the GPS-based system is a great possibility,” Khaw added.

The minister is accompanying Singapore Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong for the annual leaders’ retreat hosted by PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Khaw said the GPS-based instrument approaches from both the north over Pasir Gudang and south over Singapore island.

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

Loke confirmed that local turboprop operator FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd will resume operation in Seletar Airport on April 21, while Malindo Airways Sdn Bhd has also applied for permission from the Singaporean airport authorities to fly to Seletar.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, Khaw said both countries are now working on a supplementary agreement to suspend the rail project for six months at Malaysia’s request.

“Both our respective attorney generals (AGs) and officials are working towards a supplementary agreement to effect such a suspension.

“We will approach this issue as we did for the suspension of the high-speed rail project, with goodwill and reasonable accommodation,” Khaw said.

Loke said the terms of the supplementary agreement will be sorted by the AG Chambers (AGCs). “Yes, there will be some costs involved but we can’t tell you what that is right now. That will be determined by the AGCs which will draft the supplementary agreement and sort the details,” he said.

Malaysia had requested for a six-month extension late last month to name its partner to develop the RTS, and to review the project’s scope, structure and costs that were agreed earlier between the two countries.

Loke had previously said the extension was to allow the Malaysian government to study the cost of the project — which was estimated at RM4 billion — and to reduce it further.

Malaysia has so far missed several deadlines and this will likely push the project’s completion date beyond the initial target of Dec 31, 2024.