The leaders of Singapore and Indonesia have signed a new agreement covering the Flight Information Region (FIR) that has been controlled by Singapore for decades. The two prime ministers said Tuesday (25 January) that the agreement between Singapore and Indonesia will ensure that air traffic control services are provided safely, while allowing Singapore’s Changi Airport to grow in the long term as an international air hub, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.
Speaking to reporters after the conclusion of the 5th Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat in Bintan, Indonesia, Lee said the FIR Agreement realigns the FIR boundaries to be “generally in accordance” with Indonesia’s territorial boundaries. “But secondly, it makes sure that Changi (Airport) is able to operate efficiently, safely and fully, and provide air traffic control services in order to function as an important international airport, and to be able to grow in the long term as an international airport,” he said.
Under the FIR Agreement, Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to realign the boundary between the Jakarta FIR and the Singapore FIR. Indonesia will delegate to Singapore the provision of air navigation services in portions of the airspace within the realigned Jakarta FIR. This agreement will remain in force for 25 years and shall be extended by mutual consent if both parties find it beneficial to do so.
“The FIR Agreement takes into account International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules and regulations and will be submitted for approval to the ICAO in accordance with an agreed procedure,” according to the Singapore government. Indonesia has repeatedly expressed its wish to take over control of the FIR above Riau islands, which has been managed by Singapore since 1946 as mandated by ICAO. Singapore has repeatedly said that the FIR is not an issue of sovereignty, but of the safety and efficiency of commercial air traffic.