The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has permanently restricted airspace over Pasir Gudang, Johor, near the ILS approach path of Singapore Seletar Airport. In a Notam (A4018/18) that became effective today, non-military aircraft are not permitted to enter the airspace that is set from 2,000 feet to 5,000 feet, unless given prior approval via fax by the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
This restricted airspace will potentially disrupt ILS approaches into Seletar, especially for those making missed approaches. “The restricted area being within a controlled and congested airspace will impact the existing and normal operations of aircraft transiting through the airspace,” the Singapore Ministry of Transport said in a statement. Both countries will meet on January 8 to discuss the matter, among other bilateral issues.
The move comes as if in retaliation against Singapore’s new ILS approach procedure into Seletar that is opposed by the Malaysian authorities. Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke said last month that the ILS path would prevent development of tall structures in the Pasir Gudang region and is a “clear violation of Malaysia sovereignty and international law and standards.”
Further, he said Malaysia hopes to reclaim ATC control over the airspace from Singapore. Currently, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) provides ATC over southern Johor in an agreement signed between the two countries in 1974 and approved by ICAO.
The newly restricted airspace will likely raise eyebrows from the Singapore Ministry of Defence since it is the closest airspace delegated for military use. Other designated airspace segments for military use are Danger Area (WMD) 231 and 230, the Ulu Tiram Artillery Firing Range, which is around 8 nm from the border and sees occasional military aerial movements.
There are no known major military facilities in the Pasir Gudang area, but it is expected that the RMAF or Royal Malaysian Army will conduct helicopter operations across the airspace just to exercise its rights over the area.