Singapore, Malaysia aviation regulators to meet about GPS-based approach procedures

SINGAPORE: regulators from and Malaysia will be meeting next week to discuss how the new GPS-based instrument approach at Seletar Airport will be implemented, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Speaking at a press conference held jointly with Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke at Seletar Airport, Mr Khaw said he was confident the new GPS-based approach systems can be “done pretty soon”.

Mr Khaw had earlier welcomed Mr Loke, who had flown in on airline Firefly’s inaugural flight into Seletar Airport.

The GPS-based procedures will replace the Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures that Singapore withdrew on Apr 6. The transport ministers had announced on Apr 8 during a bilateral leaders’ retreat in Kuala Lumpur that civil aviation authorities from both countries would work together to develop the procedures.

“From Singapore side, we have worked out some possibilities,” said Mr Khaw. “I am quite confident it can be done pretty soon.”

Mr Loke added that Firefly was working toward retrofitting its entire fleet of 12 planes with instruments for GPS-based procedures as well.

“We are looking forward for Firefly to work towards that in a timely manner, and we are looking at the next, maybe, six to twelve months,” Mr Loke added.

Firefly’s CEO Philip See also told reporters that the company would takes its cue from the outcome of the bilateral talks.

“It’s not necessarily cast in stone yet what the full options are, so we’re going to hear what the ministers say and then … (with) the six months to 12 months horizon, we’re going to deliberate the fleet options we have,” said Mr See. “Either you retrofit or you do substitute technology, that’s something we have to evaluate. But we’re going to be guided by the regulatory side.”

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Firefly’s landing in Seletar Airport will use a visual approach in the meantime, and Mr See said “great care” was taken in designing the route and disruption management in case of low visibility and bad weather.

GOODWILL KEY FOR BILATERAL COOPERATION

The transport ministers also repeatedly affirmed the importance of goodwill in the bilateral relationship during the media conference.

Another issue between the countries is the supplemental agreement to suspend the Rapid Transit System project between Woodlands and Johor Bahru.

Mr Loke said: “The Malaysian Government has requested an extension of six months’ time, of course, we’d rather call it suspension.

“At this point (in) time, we are committed to ensure the project can be continued but of course, we are looking at various options on how to reduce the cost.”

Mr Khaw added: “I thought I should just add that the bilateral agreement does not provide for suspension.

“But like in the case of the HSR (High-Speed Rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore) … in the spirit of bilateral cooperation, we can always work out some amendments, or we call some supplementary agreement.

“So, the immediate first step is to settle, finalise and sign the supplementary agreement, which we hope can be done soon.”

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