Singapore has signed an agreement to return the Riau Islands airspace near Changi to Indonesia. The two countries’ leaders Lee Hsien Loong and Joko Widodo witnessed the signing of the…
Singapore has signed an agreement to return the Riau Islands airspace near Changi to Indonesia.
The two countries’ leaders Lee Hsien Loong and Joko Widodo witnessed the signing of the memorandum during the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat in Bintan on 25 January.
This means Indonesia will now control all airspace within its territory, including over Riau and Natuna islands. It means victory for Indonesia who has been trying to claim back the airspace.
Singapore has been managing the flight information region (FIR) above the Riau Islands since 1946 but Indonesia views this as a sovereignty issue.
Indonesia is unhappy that being a big economy, a small country at its border is controlling its airpsace. It did not wish to have to seek permission from their neighbour while their neighbour could move freely.
After Lee Hsien Loong’s meeting with Jokowi, the dispute is settled. Singapore will give in to Indonesia and surrender control of the airspace.
Possible Problems of Handing Over Airspace
As for Singapore, it might have to face flight delays as a result of the change to the airspace. Singapore’s airspace is already heavily congested and it is critical to have an efficient FIR regime to ensure orderly traffic.
The heavy traffic coming through requires in-depth attention and any change to the airspace would affect Changi Airport’s operations.
Singapore cannot risk any further narrowing of the tight corridor. Smooth operations at Changi Airport is critical to our aviation interests and any change may threaten our status as a premier regional hub.
Why do our leaders want to risk all these and bend over to our neighbour’s demands?
Do our country’s leaders have the iron in them to negotiate what is best for our country? When problems occur, will they deal with the consequences?
We will have more to lose if we do not defend what is critical to our country’s interest. Unfortunately, our leaders are always in favour of an open-door policy. Just look at how our VTLs have made us a laughing stock.