Haze causes Subang Airport in Malaysia's Selangor state to shut down for nearly 3 hours

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The worsening haze caused the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Malaysia's state of Selangor, to be closed for nearly three hours on Saturday (Sept 26) after the smog reduced visibility to below 300m.

The airport runway was closed at 4.50pm as the air quality situation deteriorated in the Klang Valley, with winds blowing in the haze from land and forest fires in central Sumatra.

The closure caused flights to Subang to be diverted to Penang and Johor Baru, while several flights taking off from the airport were delayed.

In a tweet, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd said the runway was re-opened at 7.45pm after visibility improved and urged all affected passengers to check with their airlines for their flight schedules.

Firely and Malindo Air operate from the airport.

Civil Aviation Department director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the closure of the runway was a safety precaution due to the worsening haze.

"The Subang airport has been reopened. All other airports continued to operate as usual," he said.

Both the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and KLIA2 remained open to air traffic.

In a statement, Malindo Air said all its affected passengers had been notified and that they could either change their flight dates for free or opt for full refunds.

Malindo Air chief executive Chandran Rama Muthy said flights which were supposed to land at Subang during the closure were diverted to Penang and Johor Baru.

He said one flight from Trichy, India, which was scheduled to land at KLIA2 in Sepang, was initially diverted to Penang due to the haze but was later allowed to land in KLIA2 when visibility improved.

Firely chief executive Ignatius Ong said all of the airline's flights in and out of the airport were affected during the closure and urged passengers to contact the airline.

In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said its operations at KLIA were largely unaffected by the haze yesterday.

It said only one of its planes, Flight MH2591 from Miri to Kuala Lumpur, was diverted to Penang due to poor visibility.

"Aside from Flight MH2591, all other Malaysia Airlines flights in and out of KLIA were not affected by the haze," it said.