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Western Sydney Airport to shake up existing Sydney flight paths

written by Jake Nelson | October 24, 2023

Construction underway at Western Sydney International’s terminal in August 2023.

The federal government has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Western Sydney International Airport (WSI), including revised flight paths for the existing airports.

Flights from Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport, as well as Camden and Bankstown Airports and RAAF Richmond, will be changed to accommodate flight paths from WSI. Sydney Airport departures in particular will be more concentrated, with paths over areas including Burwood and Parramatta.

Flight paths from Sydney Airport will move from current spread-out arrangements to a “centre line” strategy, tracking generally to the west before turning towards the north, east and south as required.

In a doorstop interview, Transport Minister Catherine King said because of the existing complexity of Sydney’s airspace, it is a “really big and complex job” to introduce new flight paths in the city’s west.


“We have Kingsford Smith Airport, we’ve got Richmond Air Base, we’ve got Camden and Bankstown, and so the EIS does look at how and what changes will need to be made to flights coming in and out of Kingsford Smith, in and out of Richmond, in and out of Bankstown and Camden as well,” she said.

“I encourage people across Sydney to have a look to see whether where you live is affected, it’s why the noise tool is there, and as I’ve said, the principles under which the design of this air space has been undertaken, they’ve been around for a long time.

“Safety first, has to be first, but trying to make sure we mitigate the impact, particularly over residences as much as we possibly can has been one of the principles that all of the air space design has been undertaken under.”

In a separate interview with ABC Radio, the Minister said the new flight paths were designed to overfly residential areas as little as possible.

“Whilst it might say a particular suburb, the flight path might be more over an industrial area or over a river, or it might be over an area that doesn’t have a high level of residential properties,” she said.

“That was one of the principles, was to really look at making sure those flights were minimised over residential areas as much as possible.”

Preliminary flight paths were released for WSI itself in June. They include reciprocal runway operations (RRO), where planes arrive and depart from the same direction, to minimise noise at night when traffic permits.

Additionally, the government has released an interactive Overflight Noise Tool that will allow residents to search by address or location, giving information such as daily aircraft numbers,  expected altitude, and predicted noise levels.

The draft EIS is available and open for feedback online.

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