Why Firefly is suspending all flights to Singapore
THOUSANDS of shocked passengers have been left in a lurch as Malaysian airline Firefly, a full subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, announced it will suspend all flights to Singapore with effect from Dec 1, 2018.
Firefly was scheduled to transfer its operations from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport, a terminal which underwent an SGD80 million (US$58 million) facelift, on that same day.
On its website, Firefly confirmed all flights into Singapore will be suspended “until the relevant authorities have cleared remaining matters in relation to the Singapore authority’s plans to move turbo-prop operations from Changi International to Seletar”.
“Firefly has not been provided any definitive timeline by the authorities for the delay,” the airline wrote. “Upon final approval from the authorities, Firefly will then resume its flights into Singapore.”
“In the meantime, arrangements are being made for all affected passengers. We apologize to passengers for the inconvenience caused.”
It is believed that at least 12,000 people have confirmed bookings on Firefly flights from Dec 1.
The low-cost, no-frills subsidiary operates a total of 20 daily turboprop flights to and from Subang, Ipoh, and Kuantan at Changi Airport.
The move is supposed to benefit Firefly passengers as well, as they will only need to pay SGD29 (US$21) in airport fees and levies when the airline moves to Seletar, as compared to the SGD47.30 (US$35) at Changi Airport.
Changi Airport Group (CAG), the operator of both airports, has been planning to move turbo-prop operations to Seletar Airport. Specifically, CAG has been working with Firefly since 2014 to prepare for the move.
“Singapore has made all preparations and approved all applications by Firefly to conduct scheduled turboprop operations at Seletar Airport from Dec 1, 2018,” the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement.
Firefly did not elaborate further on its decision, but it is believed that it has not received approval from its regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), to move from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport, according to a The Straits Times report.
“CAAS has been requesting CAAM to inform us of their specific regulatory concerns affecting Firefly’s safe operations into Seletar Airport,” CAAS revealed, adding that the airport meets the relevant requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation on airport design and operations.
Seletar Airport, which opened on Nov 19, 2018, handles scheduled commercial flights, chartered business flights, and private jets. It will also handle all turbo-prop flights.
The airport is designed to handle up to 700,000 passengers a year, freeing up capacity at Changi Airport for larger planes.
If you are one of the thousands affected by the suspension, please contact Firefly’s call center at +603 7845 4543.
Alternatively, you may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.