Malaysian Minister of Transport Anthony Loke Siew Fook posted a video on Facebook on December 11 explaining Malaysia’s opposition to the flight path of the new Instrument Landing System (ILS) that Singapore’s Seletar Airport will be using, effective January 3, 2019, because the flight path has a height buffer that is inadequate for Pasir Gudang’s tall infrastructure.
Minister Loke’s post shows Malaysia’s position on the ILS system and flight path:
According to the Ministry of Transport (MOT) video, Firefly Airlines has suspended all flights into Singapore beginning December 1, when they were transferred from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport, which is only 2km away from Pasir Gudang in Johor.
The industrial town sits directly in the new flight path that Singapore is going to be using along with an Instrument Landing System (ILS), beginning January 3, 2019.
The ILS is “a precision runway approach aid that helps airplanes to land even with poor visibility.” It is supposedly safer for the airplanes, but Malaysia will have none of it because of the height buffers over Pasir Gudang in Johor.
On point 1, 3km away from Seletar, the height buffer is at 54m.
On point 2, 6km away from Seletar, the height buffer is at 145m.
These height buffers are completely inadequate for Pasir Gudang, which is an industrial town. The MOT video points out that there are mobile cranes around 103m in height as well as tall skyscrapers that will be dangerous obstructions.
“We can’t even build tall buildings over Pasir Gudang if we allow that flight path!” said Minister Loke in the video.
Experts have since weighed in on the points in the video, according to another media source.
They said that with the ILS, the height limit 3km away is 93.8m, and the height buffer 6km away is 193.1m.
If the experts are right, with an extra safety barrier, the actual flight approach into Seletar would be 200.5m in height at 3km away, the same as it is today.
The MOT video also says that Pasir Gudang Port will suffer “higher risks and multiple restrictions” if the ILS flight path will be used.
Experts have spoken – for the last 30 years, Singapore has utilised systems such as the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Vessel Height Measuring System to safeguard both aviation and maritime activities.
The MOT video said that before the ILS, there was no height regulation in place, and pilots would manually maneuver around obstacles in order to fly safely. With ILS, however, height restrictions will become mandatory.
Experts disagree. As the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requires all airports to mitigate the impact of tall buildings on aviation safety, there will be no new height restrictions for either ILS or visual landing systems.
According to the MOT video, the affected area is from Pasir Gudang to Ayer Tawar and then almost to Kota Tinggi.
Experts say that the picture above is inaccurate and should be viewed from a three-dimensional perspective. The farther from the airport, the bigger the slope of the ILS surface. The farther from the airport, the less impact it will have on the ground.
“Our position is very clear,” says Minister Loke on the video. “We are are not against Seletar, but as far as the descending flight path is concerned, it cannot be over Pasir Gudang.”