Due to visibility being reduced to below 300 meters, Malaysian authorities were forced to close the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor state for almost three hours.
The airport was closed at around 4:50 p.m. when the wind started blowing in smog from forest fires in Sumatra, causing air quality to drop significantly in the Klang Valley.
All flights to Subang were diverted to either Johor Bahru or Penang, while flights that were scheduled to take off from the airport itself were delayed until the air cleared and it was safe to commence flying again.
Smoke Causes Problems for Malindo Air and Firefly
Chief executive officer at Malindo Air Chandran Rama Muthy explained they diverted flights that were scheduled to land in Subang to Johor Bahru and Penang. He also said that a flight from Trichy, India was supposed to land at Kuala Lumpur International 2 in Sepang and was at first diverted to Penang. However, since the visibility increased, the plane was allowed to land in KLIA2.
CEO of Firefly Ignatius Ong explained the smog affected both flights in and out of Subang airport and urged travellers to contact the carrier for more information.
MAS Diverts MH2591 (Miri-Kuala Lumpur) to Penang, Other Flights Were Unaffected
AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines don’t operate from Subang. MAS issued a statement, in which it said its KLIA operations were mostly unaffected by the haze. One MAS plane was diverted, however. MH2591 from Miri to KL had to land in Penang, instead.
Malaysia Airlines said:
Aside from Flight MH2591, all other Malaysia Airlines flights in and out of KLIA were not affected by the haze.
Subang Airport Re-Opened at 7:45 p.m.
When the air finally cleared at around 7:45 p.m. Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) opened the Subang for travel again. MAHB also urged passengers in a tweet to check with their carriers for new flight schedules.
Director-general of Civil Aviation Department Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the runway was closed as a safety precaution because of the haze:
The Subang airport has been reopened. All other airports continued to operate as usual.
Meanwhile, KLIA and KLIA2 were still open to air traffic.