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Malaysia's Firefly resumes Singapore ops after airspace dispute

Two weeks after Singapore and Malaysia reached an agreement over an airspace dispute, Malaysia's Firefly resumed flights to Singapore via Seletar airport on 21 April.

In a media statement, Seletar operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) says the carrier will initially fly twice-daily between Subang and Singapore until 28 April, before operating six-daily services from 29 April.

CAG notes that Seletar's new passenger terminal, which commenced operations in November 2018, "offers improved facilities for passengers, including more check-in counters and ample seating in the departure gate hold room".

Firefly was due to move its Singapore operations from Changi Airport to Seletar on 1 December 2018. But the carrier was forced to suspend Singapore flights as it was not given approval by the Malaysian civil aviation regulator to operate from Seletar, despite being given approvals by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia stated in a 23 November 2018 statement that "for purposes of Firefly's safe operations into Seletar airport, there are indeed regulatory issues that needs to be resolved between the civil aviation authority of both countries". Malaysia had opposed Singapore's plans to implement an instrument landing system at Seletar, arguing that the move would “stunt development" around the Pasir Gudang industrial area, around 2km from Seletar, and would force it to impose height restrictions on buildings in the area.

The dispute was resolved in April where Singapore agreed to withdraw its plans to install the ILS at Seletar, while Malaysia dropped its restricted area airspace designation over Pasir Gudang.

Malaysia's transport minister Anthony Loke was quoted in a 21 April The Straits Times report as saying that Firefly will look into resuming flights from Kuantan and Ipoh to Singapore, and explore the possibility of launching new services such as Singapore Seletar-Malacca.

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