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Brisbane Airport to trial new tactics to reduce aircraft noise

written by Hannah Dowling | January 20, 2022

A Qantas 737-800 as shot at Brisbane BNE by Rob Finlayson.

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.

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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”.

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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.

Comments (14)

  • Adrian P

    says:

    A positive response from BAC.

    The good old Melways shows the extended centrelines of existing and proposed runways for Melbourne Airport with a potential aircraft noise note. Perhaps adding this type of information to Google maps would be a good idea.
    Also the National Construction Code is currently under review so it is time to build better quality homes.
    A louvre window from a thermal and acoustic perspective is basically a hole in the wall.

  • Karen Wotherspoon

    says:

    This is the second validation Brisbane residents have received that the flight path impacts do not align with what was modelled in the EIS and what was communicated during the community consultation period (the first was the ANo). There must be a balance between a healthy aviation industry and a liveable city. Brisbane is no longer liveable for anyone under the highly concentrated noise corridor and we welcome the intervention of Barnaby Joyce to require significant noise abatement measures be implemented.

  • chris

    says:

    Any notion of increasing the tailwind limit is a seriously bad idea. You can bet the people proposing it have never been faced with landing an aircraft experiencing a significant tailwind.

  • Marum

    says:

    The downwind takeoffs will certainly increase the loading on the wheels, tyres, and engines. Assuming a Vr for a fully loaded 747- 400 of 170 knots with no wind and flaps 10, in Brissie in Summer. Now, with a 7 knot headwind the groundspeed would be 163knots. However with a 7 knot tail-wind, the ground speed would be 177 knots.This would be much harder on the tyres. Also brakes would really suffer, in an aborted takeoff at V1.

    In Brissie, the prevailing winds are mostly NW or SE. The NW- to NE, would give one a headwind to take off over Moreton Bay. I too agree that 10 knots tailwind would be too great. The aircraft would be climbing out over the city area, in quite an adverse situation. Normally they would be quite safe, but any small malfunction would be too close to the limits, for my liking. I don’t have the figures, but I imagine the A380 would be similar.

    Regards….Marum.

    • Vannus

      says:

      Oh, Marum, a sensible voice in the wilderness!

      Always enjoy your postings’, as you know of which you speak.

      These complainers’ would never think about ALL the knowledge you’ve written, as they think only of themselves, & not the ramifications of getting x100’s of tons of machinery aloft, & landed SAFELY!

      People want the ‘one-upmanship’ of living in certain suburbs, plus also the ‘catchment’ areas for classy schools.

      Hopefully a satisfactory solution will be achieved, but NOT at the cost of safety to airliners’, their crews’, & passengers’.

    • Adrian P

      says:

      Some good points there in your contribution Marum.
      Until you said “The aircraft would be climbing out over the city area” that is what the proposed procedures are trying to avoid, subject to an acceptable tailwind component.
      That is a northerly wind means a tail wind landing over Moreton Bay and a headwind takeoff over Moreton Bay.
      A southerly wind would mean a head wind landing over Moreton Bay and and a tailwind takeoff over Moreton Bay.
      .

    • jdhgj

      says:

      Marum,
      747 tyres are rated for 200knots so I hardly think hitting 177 knots for a few seconds would be hard on them.
      A380 has around 10knots lower Vr speeds than 747.
      Why would the loading on the engines be increased from keeping the plane on the runway for a few more seconds?

  • Barry

    says:

    The airport’s been there longer than some of these complaining people.

    You want to live nearby it? Noise is part & parcel of that.

    To make airliners’ veer from a possible safer approach all because you can’t put in ear protection is gross elitism.

    Of course air traffic has increased, that’s how it is in the 21st century.

    Buying a house with flight approaches & take-offs within a short distance is beyond stupid.

    • dghjd

      says:

      Barry, did you not read the article? It clearly states in the first few paragraphs that the noise was created from the new runway and subsequent new flight paths.

      As for calling people stupid, I bought a house in Sydney’s Mt Ku Ring Gai in 1985 which is about 40km from Sydney Airport. At the time, it was about as far as you could possibly get from Sydney airport and still be in a suburban part of Sydney. In 2000, flight paths were changed and we have since had jets flying straight and level over homes here at only 3000ft AGL. They are often already in landing configuration but aren’t descending since they’ve got about 25km more to go before they actually the the glideslope. So they have to throttle up as a result making more noise. The elevation here is already 700ft and it is loud enough you can’t have conversations or listen to music/tv etc when the planes go over.
      So are we stupid? How could we have know in 1985 that in 2000, planes would fly so low over here? And how is is safe for them to do that?

    • Jim P

      says:

      In 21st century, they also build smart airports that do not push planes over the city’s most populated areas. How come a tiny country like Singapore can figure that out and yet in a country larger than Europe, we have airports so close to the CBD and the inner suburbs that they have to fly 100s of planes everyday over the CBD and pretty much every single riverfront suburb in Brisbane? What is this other than the lack of proper city planning whatsoever?! As always, lazy “that’ll do it” planning and aiming for the cheapest option with the highest profit is the reason Brisbane is turning into a noisy city that is becoming much more unpleasant to live in.

  • Muzza

    says:

    I suspect that road traffic noise in those suburbs would exceed aircraft noise, and is more of a constant.

    • I totally agree with your comment . We lived at Tingalpa when the “new” runway opened back in the 80’s when 727s were the workhorses of the skies but once the 737s arrived the noise all but disappeared . Most aircraft today would not even emit as much noise as a motor lawn mower so welcome to the real world to the noise whingers.

  • Nicholas

    says:

    When I lived in Melbourne I lived across a road from a busy train line. After a while it becomes white noise, people would visit and complain and I’d say what train, you’d blotted the noise out..

    People just seem to look for something to complain about now, and forget the huge benefits that modern 24 hour airports deliver us.

    I’d say to the Brisbane complainers, wait for a while before getting on your high horse, it might not be as bad as you think….

    I live under the flight path of a busy ( well used to be ) regional airport, initially in poor weather and visibility planes would be throttling up and back, now with the modern landing aids, not a pep of noise.. Things will change and planes will only get quieter…

    • Warwick

      says:

      Yes, Nicholas, as a child I lived on a busy tram route.
      I remember my Aunt & Uncle coming from SYD, & their complaining about the ‘tram noise’ & not getting sleep.
      The last tram went past at 2330hrs, & the first in the morn was 0600hrs.

      Like you, my parents’ & I never heard them as we’d lived there since the War.

      I agree that jet engines’ are getting quieter, & I remember the smoke, & noise emanating from Boeing 707-238C’s back in late ‘60’s, to early ‘70’s upon take-off.

      The Boeing 747’s were a big improvement in that area.

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