A view of the city of Johor Bahru, Malaysia from the neighbouring Singapore. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Malaysia has informed Singapore that it wants to take back control of airspace over southern Johor that the city-state has managed since 1974, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke on December 4.

The move came amid a dispute over a flight path to a secondary airport in Singapore.

“We feel that it is now the time that we regained the control of our very own airspace because over the years, we have also upgraded our air traffic control and we think we are capable of doing so,” he noted. “So we want to begin the process of negotiations with our Singapore counterpart.”

Singapore has put in place a new instrument landing system at its small Seletar airport to be used by turboprops and business jets, that involves a flight path over Malaysian airspace without its permission, Loke told the Singaporean parliament.

He said the flight path would lead to height limits on building development and affect shipping operations in the state of Johor on the south of the Malaysian peninsula that borders the island of Singapore.

Last month, Malaysia refused to approve the flight path and voiced that it intends to reclaim the airspace, that it had delegated for management by Singapore, in phases with the first expected around the end of 2019.

In response to Loke’s comments, the Singaporean transport ministry said in a statement that the city-state “respects Malaysia’s sovereignty.”

“Airspace in this region is one of the most complex in the world… The benefits to both our economies and our people have been tremendous. Hence, any proposed changes will impact many stakeholders,” it added. –VNA