Brisbane MPs have promised Brisbane Airport’s flight paths will be “ripped up and redrawn”, in a major win for residents fighting against increased aircraft noise pollution.
In a joint statement, the MPs pledged to introduce all recommended changes to flight paths and airport operations, as proposed in an interim report under Airservices Australia’s post-implementation review of the airport’s newly introduced flight paths.
Speaking at the airport on Monday, Federal Minister for Brisbane Trevor Evans said a total of 49 changes to flight paths would be introduced “immediately” in order to mitigate aircraft noise for inner-city residents, who collectively made nearly 10,000 complaints to Airservices Australia about noise pollution since July 2020.
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.
It also comes after Airservices Australia revealed during Senate Estimates this weekend that it had received 9,727 complaints between 12 July 2020 and 28 February 2022 from residents across 169 suburbs of Greater Brisbane.
The changes, once implemented, will see “considerably” more flights taking off and landing over Moreton Bay, as opposed to the city, while aircraft will also perform steeper take-offs and descents to reduce the amount of noise, among other solutions.
The proposed changes build upon current noise abatement trials organised by Brisbane Airport and Airservices Australia, which have extended simultaneous opposite direction parallel runway operations (SODPROPS) to send more flights over Moreton Bay.
However, Evans stopped short of introducing a flight curfew on the airport, nor introducing a permanent forum to monitor aircraft noise levels, similar to that of Sydney Airport.
It comes just days after shadow minister for transport and infrastructure Catherine King revealed Labor’s plans to instate such a permanent forum, should they win the upcoming federal election.
She stated Labor’s commitment to ensuring Brisbane residents are satisfied with what is being done in response to ongoing outrage over increasing aircraft noise pollution over inner-city suburbs.
“Aviation is essential to Australia and to Brisbane,” King said.
“Labor has long argued that the Morrison-Joyce government needs to take seriously the concerns of residents affected by aircraft noise.”
It also follows previous calls from Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance (BFPCA) to rework Brisbane’s flight paths from scratch, with BFPCA chair and spokesperson David Diamond telling Australian Aviation at the time that the expectations of the flight paths set during public consultation with the community have not been met.
Chair of the Brisbane Airport Post Implementation Review Advisory Forum (BAPAF) Ross Musgrove said some of the new changes could be implemented within weeks, however highlighted that this time around, any changes must be made in consultation with the community.
“Today is the culmination of what started as a community rally asking for a forum to hear their concerns,’’ he said.
“This is so important. This is going to be community-led.
“The community will have a say, which has not happened before.’’