Jokowi signs regulation to ratify agreement with Singapore on flight information region

Mr Joko Widodo said the FIR agreement was "a step forward for international recognition of Indonesian airspace". PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM SEKRETARIAT PRESIDEN/YOUTUBE

JAKARTA - Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday announced that he had signed a presidential regulation to ratify the flight information region (FIR) agreement which Indonesia inked with Singapore in January.

Under the agreement, the boundary between the Singapore and Jakarta FIRs will be realigned to be generally in accordance with Indonesia's territorial boundaries.

In a video posted on the Indonesian presidential secretariat's YouTube channel, Mr Widodo said the FIR agreement was "a step forward for international recognition of Indonesian airspace".

It would also "increase aviation safety assurance and can increase non-tax state revenues and this can be a momentum for modernising aviation navigation equipment and developing Indonesian human resources", he added.

The FIR pact is part of the set of agreements on three long-standing bilateral issues that were signed at the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat in Bintan in January, witnessed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Widodo.

The retreat also saw an exchange of letters undertaking to bring all three pacts into force simultaneously. The other two are an extradition treaty, and an agreement on defence cooperation and military training.

Responding to media queries on Indonesia's ratification of the agreement, a spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said: "We welcome Indonesia's ratification of the FIR agreement."

"The FIR agreement is part of the set of agreements under the expanded framework between Singapore and Indonesia that were signed at the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat in January 2022 in the presence of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesian President Joko Widodo," said the MFA spokesman.

"The Singapore and Indonesian Governments had exchanged letters undertaking to bring the three agreements, on FIR, extradition, and defence cooperation, into force simultaneously. We look forward to the ratification of the remaining agreements so as to enable the simultaneous implementation of all three agreements," the spokesman added.

Under international law, global airspace is divided into FIRs. Countries are responsible for providing flight information and navigation services in their assigned FIRs.

The Singapore FIR - which air traffic controllers in Singapore have managed since 1946 under international arrangements to ensure aviation safety - currently covers the airspace over the Riau and Natuna islands.

But Jakarta has been seeking a realignment for some time, leading up to discussions on the agreement.

Under the FIR agreement, parts of Singapore's FIR that cover Indonesia's airspace above the Riau Islands and Natuna Islands - spanning some 249,575 sq km - will come under Indonesia's FIR.

However, Indonesia will delegate the provision of air navigation services for a part of this realigned airspace to Singapore for 25 years, a period that may be extended.

Both neighbours had also concluded and signed agreements on defence cooperation and extradition in 2007 and agreed to implement them simultaneously, but they were not ratified by Indonesia then.

In January, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Defence Cooperation Agreement signed 15 years ago. They also signed an updated extradition treaty that makes minor adjustments to the version signed in 2007.

On Thursday, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Panjaitan, who was seated beside Mr Widodo, said the agreements on defence cooperation and extradition were "waiting for ratification in our Parliament".

"God willing, it will not take too long to complete these too," he added.

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