Noise complaints at Brisbane Airport have increased from 24 to 117 a month since the opening of its new runway.
The development comes despite earlier promises that new flightpaths would reduce disruption for locals by allowing aircraft to take off over the bay at night, rather than across the city.
The airport played down the situation and said questions and complaints were “expected” given the changes.
“Bulimba, Balmoral and Hawthorne are all communities receiving aircraft noise as a result of the new flight paths, and this is reflected in the questions and complaints we have received since the runway opening,” the airport told The Brisbane Times.
According to new figures released by Airservices Australia, there were 118 noise complaints in July as the new runway came into operation. This included 15 in Bulimba and Hamilton and 14 in Balmoral.
In June, just 24 complaints were received, and in May, it was 26. One reader told The Brisbane Times the sound was “unbearable”.
The airport said in response that, since the changes were applied, 54 per cent of flights arrived or departed over Moreton Bay, and the rest flew over Brisbane suburbs.
“As expected, we have received questions and complaints regarding the new flight paths since parallel runway operations commenced on July 12, 2020,” a spokesperson said. “In the last week, 60 per cent of operations have taken place over the bay.”
The news will lead to fears the complaints will only rise as flights and passengers increase. The airport is currently reported to be operating at only 40 per cent of pre-COVID-19 capacity.
Federal MP Terri Butler, whose constituency is under the flight path, said, “The constituents have told my office that they believe almost all aircraft are being directed over their suburbs.
“This includes in the early hours of the morning. Some constituents are advising that they are experiencing the noise of a new aircraft every 60 seconds. They have identified that aircraft are often flying outside of any flight path.”
Australian Aviation previously reported how the $1 billion runway opened on 11 July with a warbird flypast and the departure of a Virgin Australia 737-8FE to Cairns. Construction workers quietly finished building the $1 billion runway at the end of April.
The project to build it cost more than a $1 billion, took eight years of construction and demanded 3.3 million man-hours from 3,700 Australians.
It’s hoped it will slowly double the hub’s passenger numbers from 23.4 million to more than 50 million by 2040, increasing daily flights to 110 aircraft movements an hour.
At its peak, 650 people were on-site in mid-2019 and 324 subcontractors were hired, with around 90 per cent based in south-east Queensland. In total, the state reclaimed 11 million cubic metres of sand from Moreton Bay as part of the works.