Brisbane Airport and Airservices Australia have together agreed to begin a new trial to send more flights over Moreton Bay, following ongoing noise complaints and protests from inner-city residents.
It comes after residents of inner-city Brisbane suburbs spent months lobbying and protesting against excessive aircraft noise pollution over their homes following the introduction of Brisbane’s second parallel runway.
The airport opened its new parallel runway in July 2020, and simultaneously implemented a slew of new flight paths that residents have since stated do not meet the expectations set in consultation with the community prior to the runway’s approval.
Airservices Australia and Brisbane Airport will now work through a number of possible solutions, as part of Airservices’ ongoing post implementation review of the airport’s new flight paths.
The Post Implementation Review Advisory Forum, tasked with independently investigating the impact of Brisbane Airport’s new flight paths, has released its first quarterly report, which outlines the changes to be trialled.
One move includes a 12-month trial of extending simultaneous opposite direction parallel runway operations (SODPROPS) by an additional two hours to 8am on weekends, allowing more flights to arrive and depart over Moreton Bay rather than the city.
Another tactic to be implemented is the removal of intersection departures – meaning aircraft taking off at a point prior to the determined take-off point of a runway – for flights taking off over the suburbs, allowing aircraft to fly at a higher altitude on departure.
The third is the introduction of a noise abatement procedure that will require jet aircraft to remain on an agreed flight path until they reach 10,000-12,000 feet in order to minimise flight noise over suburbs.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) and Airservices will also submit a request to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to increase the allowable tailwind for aircraft to 7 knots, which could also increase the number of flights arriving and departing over Moreton Bay.
BAC had previously attempted to get CASA to increase this limit to 10 knots, however its proposal was knocked back due to “insufficient evidence or data”.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who set up the forum in September, said he is “very pleased” with the progress that has been made.
“Importantly, Airservices Australia and Brisbane Airport Corporation have agreed to three measures which could be implemented in the first half of this year. These actions could provide the noise relief locals need.”
David Diamond from the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance told ABC, “We certainly welcome the committee’s validations.
“This is a skirmish that we’ve won but there’s still a long way to go in the battle and the war.”
He added: “We certainly want a very strong aviation industry, and we absolutely believe that can occur – it’s not an either-or situation.
“That’s what we’re going to be pushing for world’s best practice, and we’re a long way from what other countries are doing in terms of managing their communities while also having productive airports.”
It comes just days after the BAC warned new homeowners in an upcoming Brisbane inner-city development that they could experience flight noise levels of up to 70 decibels.
The airport corporation also pleaded with the Brisbane City Council to ensure future homeowners are aware of the noise levels and restrict them from making aircraft noise complaints.
Currently, there are plans to build up to 855 homes in the $63 million, 20-hectare Bulimba Barracks site – a former US Army base from WWII – all of which will fall under Brisbane Airport’s new flight paths.
Ahead of the proposed redevelopment of the site by Shayher Group, the BAC has submitted a response to Brisbane City Council, urging the council to ensure residents are aware in advance of the noise pollution in the area.