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Firefly cleared to operate Seletar flights: Changi Airport Group

Malaysian carrier Firefly has met all requirements in Singapore to start scheduled flights to Seletar airport, throwing into question its claim that outstanding regulatory issues will prevent it from moving its services there from 1 December.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) tells FlightGlobal that it "has been working with Firefly since 2014 to prepare for its shift to Seletar airport", as part of a plan to move all turboprop movements out of Singapore Changi International airport.

"Singapore has made all preparations and approved all applications by Firefly to conduct scheduled turboprop operations at Seletar airport from 1 December 2018," CAG adds.

The airport operator's reply came hours after Firefly issued a notice on its website stating that it will suspend all flights to Singapore from 1 December "until the relevant authorities have cleared remaining matters in relation to the Singapore authority's plans to move turboprop operations from Changi to Seletar".

Neither Firefly, nor its parent Malaysia Airlines, responded to a query from FlightGlobal seeking more details about the outstanding issues associated with the move.

A new passenger terminal dedicated to turboprop and business aviation opened at Seletar on 19 October, ahead of the 1 December deadline to move turboprop operations there from Changi.

FlightGlobal schedules data indicates that Firefly operates the only turboprop services into Singapore, with 70 weekly flights from Ipoh, Kuantan, and Subang.

"CAG has been in discussion with other airlines who have expressed interest to operate scheduled services to Seletar Airport," the airport operator adds.

In an October 2017 interview with FlightGlobal, the airline's then-chief executive Ignatius Ong indicated that the lack of an instrument landing system at Seletar was a major obstacle to the proposed move there. The airport, which serves primarily as a business aviation and MRO base, is equipped with a non-directional beacon.

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