Brisbane Airport has said a cap on flights to reduce noise would cost the local economy $1 billion a year.
The airport’s chief executive, Gert-Jan de Graaff, warned that closing the airport at night would have “significant consequences” and cost up to 9,000 jobs.
“The noise issue is real. People living on the flight path, they are experiencing things that they don’t like; they don’t want. But caps and curfews are not the answer,” said de Graaff.
“Curfews, closing the airport during the night, has significant consequences, economic consequences as well as operational consequences.
“And it will not do the trick (to solve the problem) because during the night we are operating more than 60 per cent of all flights over the bay and we’re only using the legacy runway, so it’s not the newly exposed people that are experiencing any noise during the night.
“Caps are very significant because they will constrain the airport — period. Therefore, that will cap the growth and the opportunity of what we are able to deliver the state of Queensland.
“We’re calculating that at about $1 billion yearly as the impact on the community and more than 9,000 jobs that it would cost, so we think there are much better ways to manage that noise exposure.
“Recently Trax International did a report they presented to Airservices Australia with very good opportunities they identified to improve the situation.
“I think the focus should be on implementing those improvements, and through that way, improve the situation for the residents in Brisbane while maintaining the capacity of the airport and the opportunities that the airport delivers to the state and city to further grow and develop.”
The independent Trax review recommended more flights depart over the water rather than local communities and also suggested authorities negotiate with nearby RAAF Base Amberley to share airspace.
As well as new flight paths, it also advised enhancing “communications around airspace changes” and “optimising the wider Brisbane airspace system to deliver improved aircraft noise outcomes for communities”.
Residents of Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs, including New Farm, Bulimba, Teneriffe, Hamilton, and Hawthorn, have spent two years lobbying and protesting against what they claim is excessive aircraft noise pollution over their homes following the introduction of Brisbane’s second parallel runway last year.
It led to Brisbane MPs in April promising the new flight paths would be “ripped up and redrawn” in accordance with recommendations.
Trax’s report wasn’t the first to be critical of the new flight paths. In October last year, the nation’s Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO) ruled that Airservices Australia did not provide “full and complete information” to Brisbane communities about potential noise.