Sydney Airport Master Plan 2039
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No Aircraft Noise News 2015 Volume 20, Issue 1 August 2015
Sydney Airport MAY NOT operate Badgerys Creek Airport
The current Airports Act 1996 for both Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek Airport requires that both airports must be operated by the same company or subsidiary of the same company. In a press release on the 25 June, Warren Truss the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister proposed an Airports Amendment Bill of 2015 which will allow “key planning documentation to be prepared for Western Sydney Airport in conjunction with the environment assessment process currently underway” and the removal of the airport cross ownership requirements allowing the Australian Government to deal with third parties.
By NOT waiting for the outcome of environmental planning before commencing the airport plan, key issues and concerns may not be properly dealt with in the Sydney West Airport Plan.
On 2 July, Warren Truss told the media that the 9 month consultation and negotiation period with Sydney Airport for their joint operation of both Sydney Airport and Sydney West Airport was concluded.
What he won’t say is if Sydney Airport will or will not be operating Sydney West Airport or will there be a tender process? Why did the government need to remove of cross- ownership requirement from the Airport Act unless they intend to look for a different operational manager?
In our view, a replacement airport is preferable to a second airport and is No Aircraft Noise policy. NAN believes that Wilton should be considered as a site for the replacement airport. However, given the decision for Badgerys Creek Airport has been made by the government, a different owner of the second airport would be better as it would reduce Sydney Airport’s regional aviation monopoly and create a competitive pressure to move major jet traffic from Sydney Airport.
Badgerys Creek Airport proposed as a solution for Western Sydney growth
In April, Winnie Southcott (No Aircraft Noise Chair) attended the David Borger (Western Sydney Director of the Sydney Business Chamber) presentation to the Institute of Transport and Logistics on the benefits of an airport at Badgerys Creek (Sydney West Airport). Borger is a previous Minister for Housing and Minister for Western Sydney, Lord Mayor of Parramatta and an urban planner. David Borger is NOT an aviation expert.
Similar presentations have been widely given to the aviation and transport industries, government, business groups and Western Sydney community groups to promote the
Sydney West Airport as a stimulus for regional growth and jobs for Western Sydney instead of a solution to Sydney Airport’s aviation capacity shortfall.
NAN’s aviation and transport questions on what type of airport is planned at Badgerys Creek and what supporting rail infrastructure would be built were not answered.
Whilst NAN applauds the motive to provide regional and job growth for Western Sydney, the primary requirement of this airport is to provide aviation services for Sydney and this should be the main focus.
What type of airport will Badgerys Creek be and who will use it?
In July, Warren Truss stated that “An airport for Western Sydney will be a full-service airport capable of handling both domestic and international flights, meaning for the first time Western Sydney residents would be able to access air services quickly and
easily”. The public is NOT being told what operational model is proposed for Sydney West Airport e.g. domestic, international, freight or only a regional airport model.
Sydney Airport Corporation will try to maximise their economic benefit from Sydney Airport (Kingsford Smith Airport) and hence, our concerns is that Sydney Airport Corporation will press for small less noisy, regional flights to go to Sydney West Airport and replace those slots with big and noisy jets at Sydney Airport making aircraft noise in Sydney worse.
Alternatively, Sydney Airport Corporation may reduce the relevance of the Sydney West Airport as a viable airport by pressing for the Sydney West Airport to be a Western Sydney regional airport servicing Western Sydney demand only driven by the lack of public transport links to get customers to that airport.
Badgerys Creek no relief for the inner city
Badgerys Creek will not take international curfew period jets when it first opens, but only the smaller curfew planes from Mascot. It will not be a major airport for decades according to Sydney Airport’s manager for community relations Ted Plummer at the last Sydney Airport Community Forum (SACF).
Plummer told the May Sydney Airport Community Forum that only the smaller aircraft operating in the curfew period would move to Badgerys Creek and the international jets landing between 5 and 6 am would remain at Mascot. The Curfew Act of 1995 said that small jets and propeller aircraft would move to a new airport, but made no promise re large international jets.
Any members interested in attending the next SACF meeting as observers on the 28 August should contact Pat Thorne (email@example.com) by Monday, 17 August to enable us to register your attendance. Numbers are limited.
More planes allowed in curfew by Liberal Government
Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss has allowed more planes to operate during the curfew, including corporate jets and private charters. The Abbott government has enacted changes to the Sydney Airport Curfew (Curfew Aircraft) Instrument 2015 effective since 13 February. While talking tough about protecting communities from noise, Minister Truss has opened up the curfew for more small jet aircraft. A statement of Compatibility with Human Rights has been included to justify this expansion of allowable planes.
There is an updated list of the types of “new, quieter and more efficient jet aircraft” compliant with the revised 2006 International Civil Aviation Organization noise levels, to allow these planes to fly during the curfew. The current noisier planes will be allowed to continue operating until 2022 under a grandfather clause and this will increase the overall noise footprint.
In our submission opposing the changes, No Aircraft Noise said there should be no private and business charters as the right of Sydney residents to a decent night’s sleep outweighs the privilege of allowing commercial flights during the curfew; the shoulder period of international jets landing between 5 and 6 am should be phased out (this was introduced in 1988 with a promise that the third runway would not be built); and ground running and testing of engines during the curfew should be stopped.
Sydney Airport is located near the centre of the city and is surrounded by suburbs with flight paths over heavily populated areas. Hence this airport needs to be constrained by a curfew to allow residents respite and time to sleep. International studies have proven that aircraft noise is detrimental to health especially night time noise. The Sydney Airport Curfew Act never intended Sydney Airport to be operating 24 hours.
I wish that I could hear a Jumbo Jet as noisy as a wind farm
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he finds the noise from wind farms offensive, but he is doing nothing to stop much greater noise being dumped on people by Sydney Airport. Abbott told Alan Jones on 2GB Radio, “when I’ve been up close to these wind farms, there’s no doubt, not only are they visually awful, they make a lot of noise.”
In Denmark researchers have found that only 700 metres from a 6 turbine wind farm, the noise level is down to 43 Decibels (dBA continuous). By contrast even 7km from Sydney Airport at Hunters Hill, a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet makes 79 decibels (dBA mean maximum noise level) on take off and 75 decibels when landing. The much hyped “quiet” Airbus A380 makes 74 decibels on take off and 75 decibels when landing.
It is total hypocrisy to complain about the noise from wind farms when the Abbott government has approved an increase in noise from Sydney Airport. Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss approved the airport’s latest Master Plan in February 2014.
August - Qantas is ok with no rail service to Badgerys Creek when the airport opens. "The last thing we want to do is to add cost burdens on to these things that are not justified," CEO Alan Joyce was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald. But the NSW Government, Accor hotels and regional airline Jetgo all want rail from the start. NSW wants the Abbott government to pay for a rail link. http://www.smh.com.au/business/aviation/qantas-chief-alan-joyce-ok-with-no-badgerys- creek-airport-rail-link-20150803-giqsrk.html#ixzz3hvWxRzZE
August – a Business park and family leisure destination is being planned on 41 hectares of non-aviation land at Bankstown Airport. The Bankstown Master Plan approved in January earmarks up 130 hectares of land at Bankstown Airport for “non-aviation” purposes. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/161-million-development-plans-for-bankstown- airport-20150728-gim00r
July – Dick Smith sent a letter to Warren Truss to delay implementation of the new OneSky civil-military airspace management system until after aviation reforms. OneSky was secured in February 2015 and is claimed to be an improvement in airspace management to control the forecast 60% increase in air traffic by 2030. The plan is to implement it between 2018 and 2021. www.airservicesaustralia.com/projects/onesky- australia/ and http://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/wt/releases/2015/February/wt053_2015.aspx and http://www.australianflying.com.au/news/dick-smith-urges-truss-to-delay-onesky
May - The consortium that owns the leases for both Bankstown and Camden Airports have put them up for sale and are expecting a price around $200 million.
2014 Volume 19, Issue 2 October 2014
Badgerys Creek – watch this space
Since Tony Abbott’s announcement that a second airport for Sydney will go ahead at Badgerys Creek, news regarding progress has been scarce.
On 23 July 2014, the Australian Institute of Urban Studies (AIUS) held a seminar on Badgerys Creek – What’s next?
Consensus between the speakers was that the two next steps are:
Set up a Western Sydney Airport Authority representing both Federal and State governments. The authority would drive the process for the new airport including:
Type and Size
Legal Process to be followed.
Conformance to Environmental Law (EPBC Act 1999).2. Determine the owners of the new airport first by negotiating with owners of Sydney Airport who have first right of refusal.
SMH reported on 19 August 2014 that: “The Government has issued Sydney Airport with a “notice to consult”….over the development of a western Sydney airport”. The 9 month consultation phase will start on 30 September. SMH followed up on 13 September 2014 reporting these steps:
July 2015: Government to put a “notice of intention” to build a Badgerys Creek Airport to Sydney Airport Corporation (SAC).
October 2015: SAC will have 4 months to respond to the Notice of Intention, including a timeframe for construction. If SAC declines the offer, government will put the same terms to other parties.
Mid-late 2016: Government expects earthworks to begin at Badgerys Creek.
Mid 2020s: Government wants commercial flights to begin at Badgerys Creek.
The Abbott government says it will move quickly to have something built, but move slowly to have the airlines operating there. Sydney Airport wants to continue expanding big jet operations in the city
Developers want residential rezoning in noisiest part of Marrickville
Developers have succeeded in getting Marrickville Council to vote 6 to 5 in favour of putting a rezoning proposal to the NSW Government for the Victoria Road section of Marrickville, right under the main runway flight path. The developers propose mixed uses with 3,080 new dwellings in the study area of 18 hectares, which is mostly industrial at present.
The entire area is forecast to be above 25 ANEF (the limit for housing even with insulation) by 2033 and half of it would be above 30 ANEF (only suitable for industrial and commercial uses under the Australian Standard AS2021). The area was rezoned industrial in the 1970’s because of aircraft noise, according to former Grayndler MP Leo McLeay.
Only the Green councillors and the Labor mayor voted against the proposal, with the rest of Labor, the Liberals and Independents voting for it. Greens councillor Max Phillips has said “under the Marrickville Urban Plan, and Local Environment Plan, as well as the state’s Sub-Regional Plan, this area was to be protected as employment lands. To build this many new residences under the final approach flight path in a high noise 30-35 ANEF noise area would be unprecedented and be a noise nightmare for future residents.”
The Labor mayor Cr Jo Haylen was the only ALP councillor to vote against the developers’ proposal. Like Max Phillips, Cr Haylen is also a candidate for the seat of Summer Hill in next March’s state elections.
Council officers noted that the proposal went against Marrickville’s employment strategy, the NSW planning minister’s directive not to rezone for housing in high noise areas and also Sydney airport’s need for nearby industrial areas.
Dr Jean Lennane
No Aircraft Noise members were saddened to hear of the death of Dr Jean Lennane, one of the founders of NAN and a candidate in our first campaign, the NSW state elections of 1995. Jean was a community activist extraordinaire, involved in the campaign to save mental health facilities at Callan Park and she was the president of Whistle Blowers Australia.
Jean passed away on September 18 aged 73 after a short illness. Jean retired from medicine in 2009 and community activism in 2010 owing to ill health and moved to Canberra to be closer to family. She was able to enjoy her last years despite the gradual progression of her illness and remained in robust physical health and cheery and content until close to the end.
Jean’s memorial service was held on Friday 17 October at the Balmain Town Hall, and afterwards at the Sir William Wallace Hotel. Comrades in arms from NAN were there to pay their respects.
Auckland action against increasing aircraft noise
We have been contacted by a New Zealand group who write: We are a recently formed group in Auckland facing similar issues as yourselves i.e. the recent year long Smart Approaches trial, which is due to restart early 2015, and the concurrent installation of the Nextgen Arrivals Manager system last June.
We have no curfew at Auckland Airport, which they claim is second only in size to Sydney in this neck of the woods, and their expansionist plans include huge increases in traffic and a third runway.
The Nextgen technology of the Arrivals Manager has created noise issues Auckland wide, and as you would no doubt be aware, the engine settings required by these systems create significant increases in noise with the added distressing effects of the same properties being continually targeted with the precision of GPS.
We have held two very well attended public meetings and are in the process of making representations on Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan which includes the aircraft noise abatement regulations that apply to Auckland airport.
We have applied to the Civil Aviation Authority for a review of the Civil Aviation rules and have been fortunate to have had excellent legal advice from an environmental lawyer throughout our campaign.
Noise sharing explained
The Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP) for Sydney Airport has never achieved its noise sharing targets and nobody expects that it ever will. LTOP was introduced in 1998 and was designed to ensure that aircraft movements are maximised over water and non residential land. Where overflight of residential areas cannot be avoided the Plan aims to safely share the noise between communities.
The noise sharing targets for aircraft movements are: 17% maximum to the North (of the airport), 13% maximum to the East, 15% maximum to the West and 55% minimum to the South (over Botany Bay).
From 1998 onwards, the targets have only been met to the West and the South. To the North the actual annual percentages of movements has ranged between 26.12% and 32.11% (almost double the target). To the East, the target percentage of movements has been met annually in four years, but has ranged from 13.78% to 14.81%.
At the meeting of Sydney Airport Community Forum (SACF) on 19 February 2014, it was noted that noise sharing was possible only on a few days per month. The decision at any time, to noise share depends on expected movements (including size of aircraft and the time of the flights), and the weather. It is most generally in operation between 11 am and 3 pm on a given day if conditions prevail.
With the increase in movements in and out of Sydney, the current noise sharing plans (as defined by LTOP) can be used on a diminishing basis. The number of planes will continue to rise, increasing the noise experienced by Sydney residents to the North and East of Sydney Airport.
Sydney is a flourishing and expanding city. Residential densities are increasing. The number of aircraft movements and passengers through our airport are increasing. The LTOP is unable to minimise noise for Sydneysiders. NAN believes a new environmentally acceptable 24-hour airport capable of handling all aircraft movements for Sydney is the best solution.
2014 Volume 19, Issue 1 June 2014
Abbott selects Badgerys for second airport site – but no joy for inner Sydney
The Abbott government has announced that Badgerys Creek would be the site for a second airport for Sydney. Abbott said that Badgerys would not be fully operational for a decade, but planning would start now and construction should start in 2016. Badgerys Creek would be an overflow airport, easing the peak hour pressure on Mascot but leaving all the big jets in the city.
State ALP leader John Robertson wants a curfew for Badgerys but Tony Abbott said he expects it would be a 24 hour airport. The limitations of the present airport are peak hour overload and the necessity of a curfew. To build a new airport that needed a curfew would be ridiculous, but Badgerys is in a narrow slice of the big circle of Sydney development and too many people are affected to allow it to operate for 24 hours.
It will be hard to keep developers from encroaching with new housing that would further degrade living conditions around the Badgerys site. The O’Farrell Liberal state government allowed new housing at Queanbeyan under a Canberra airport flight path, but required noise insulation to be provided. This is hopeless planning and condemns low income people to a substandard quality of life.
Abbott said that Badgerys had been studied to death and he seems to think that further environmental study will not be needed. The last Environmental Impact Study on Badgerys was done by the Howard government in 1998. That study was heavily criticised by the independent audit carried out by Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation. See “Studied to death? What happened the last time” below.
The federal government said that private tollways would be the way that transport was provided to the new airport. NSW Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, has said that land would be reserved for new railway stations to Badgerys. When it opened, Badgerys would only take 10% of the traffic of the existing Sydney airport and buses would be used to transport passengers.
The lease holders of the present Sydney Airport have the first right of refusal to develop and operate a second Sydney Airport as a condition of the privatisation by the Howard Government.
Studied to death? What happened the last time
The last EIS on Badgerys Creek was panned by the auditors, the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation. Some quotes from their report: “the proposal objectives are not clearly stated…the interaction of flight paths between Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport and the Second Airport was not assessed…the Draft EIS only assesses average noise impacts while the EIS Guidelines require assessment of the entire range of noise impacts…there are better meteorological data and modelling techniques available in comparison to those used…”
There were problems with the risk analysis ignoring the effects of the airport in combination with other airports in Sydney. One of the airport options had a cross runway which put the proposed urban village of Bringelly within the 20 ANEC (not acceptable for housing without noise insulation).
The report said “The economic analysis was inadequate and not of a standard required for this type of project.” In addition, the description of proposed mitigation and monitoring for construction and operation of the airport is not adequate.” Also that the “consultation did not build community confidence in the EIS process.”
No Aircraft Noise says that a new airport cannot be considered in isolation from the existing airport as it would not be a complete picture of a two airport system. If there is to be a second airport, the existing airport should be required to reduce its noise to comply with the Australian Standard AS2021. If this is not possible, and we say it isn’t, then the new airport should replace the existing one.
All parties agree with us – current Sydney airport inadequate, but further expansion approved
In February the Infrastructure Minister, Warren Truss, approved the 20 year Master Plan for the continued expansion of the airport. He also said that the existing airport could not cope with all of Sydney’s air traffic and that a second airport would be needed. Now all the major parties agree, in turn the Greens, Labor and now the Coalition say the airport cannot cope.
Truss accepted the airport’s claim that there would be less noise than earlier forecast. What he didn’t say is that is still more noise than the airport makes now, it’s just they reckon that the last forecast was overdone.
Sydney Airport plans to reorganise the terminals so that there are two terminals, each with both domestic and international flights. This will increase the number of gates available at any time, as the international peak hour starts earlier than the interstate one. At the moment, the airport is unable to handle even the 80 flights an hour that they are allowed under the movements cap.
Sydney Airport still in denial
Max Moore-Wilton (Chairman & CEO of Sydney Airport) told Alan Jones that the airport has plenty of spare capacity and that another airport is not needed. This contradicted several government analyses. Sydney Airport will make some infrastructure modifications to promote efficiency, but stating that only 63% of slots are full is meaningless when business people want to fly at certain times for business meetings.
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics ("BITRE") report 133 shows that, under current constraints, all slots on weekday mornings, between 6.00am and noon, and afternoons, between 4.00pm and 7.00pm, will be fully allocated by 2020. Current limits include a cap on aircraft movements of 80 aircraft per hour and a curfew restricting jet aircraft movements between 11.00pm to 6.00 am. Furthermore, all slots, and not just peak period slots, will be allocated by around 2027, and there will be practically no scope for further growth of regular public transport services at the airport by 2035 (Australian and NSW Governments 2012).
Aircraft and passenger processing limits will constrain the capacity of Sydney airport. Despite the flatter growth of the low cost airlines segment, passenger movements through Australian airports will continue to grow at reasonably strong rates. Is the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics ("BITRE") to be believed or a party with a vested interest?
Sydney Airport currently has a monopoly on air passenger transport to Sydney and they will make plenty of money even if they cannot provide for all the demand. It is in their interest to delay any second airport that may compete with them. The do nothing scenarios include moving freight and regional aircraft out of Mascot, replacing them with bigger jets, or pricing the peak hour slots to make them available only for big aircraft. Either way, Sydney Airport would keep its privileged position. The noise would get worse as bigger aircraft take over the peak hour slots and the peak hours spread to reduce the possibility of noise sharing.
Herald howler – planes quieter than a vacuum cleaner?
The Sydney Morning Herald published a noise map for Badgerys Creek on 16 April which confused the Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) with noise in decibels. The ANEF is an averaging system with different units, not a direct decibel reading. The Herald said that a typical domestic vacuum cleaner is 65 decibels and showed a map with ANEF contours as decibels. But far from being quieter than a vacuum cleaner, the difference between ANEF and decibels is huge.
At 40 ANEF, there should only be heavy industry. 150 homes were demolished in Sydenham because they were above 40 ANEF, where Boeing 747’s make over 90 decibels. By contrast, 40 decibels (dBA) is a quiet back street in Hunters Hill in the middle of the night.
The Herald told NAN that it was probably a mistake in the graphics department that caused the error. But the Herald map falsely reassures people that there will be little noise from aircraft using Badgerys Creek. What will they do to correct this outrageous error?
How the lost Malaysian airliner MH 370 will change aviation
Just as on truck fleets, soon it will become mandatory for all commercial jets to be tracked using GPS, not just on trans-Atlantic flights as at present. If people survived and were in the water, it is not OK to take 15 days to work out roughly where the plane was! And such systems will be not able to be turned off by the pilots or anyone on board.
Boeing will join Rolls Royce in deciding that the manufacturer needs to get tracking data from its products, even if the operator (airline) has no interest in such data. Boeing would surely now pay for data from all flights of 777s, just to know what went wrong with this flight, in terms of the reputation of its product.
There are questions for the region’s defence forces. How come Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Australia’s over the horizon defence radars did not report a large unidentified plane flying on a route that was not normal air-traffic route? Why did it take so long for the Thai military to say they had plotted the plane?
The good news is that the aviation industry is the best at learning from its mistakes (unlike auto makers which re-introduce old problems with every new model range. As a CNN reporter noted, we know more about a semi-trailer driving across the US with one person on board, than a plane with 239 people on board. (Thanks to Graeme Harrison of SACF Inc for this story)
2013 Volume 18, Issue 2 December 2013
Two important studies show airports bad for your health
They are likely to be the biggest ever investigation into the health effects of aircraft noise and they found that airports make people sick.
Major investigations in the USA and Britain found increased risk of heart disease in people affected by aircraft noise. The US study of 6 million people found a “statistically significant association between exposure to aircraft noise and the risk of hospitalisation for cardiovascular diseases among older people living near airports.” The study was able to take account of effects from road traffic noise, air pollution and socioeconomic status to show the long term effect of aircraft noise on hospital admissions.
The British study said that “high levels of aircraft noise were associated with increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease for both hospital admissions and mortality in areas near Heathrow airport in London.”
A total of 3.6 million people living near Heathrow in 12 London boroughs and 9 districts west of London were studied. The study was dedicated to Dr Lars Jarup, who had led earlier research into the health effects of aircraft noise and initiated this study and who died in 2010.
Elizabeth Balsom emailed the British Medical Journal to say “I’ve come on to the website because I live in West Putney, under the flight path to Heathrow and, like my neighbours, am driven crazy by aircraft noise. Interestingly, the Heathrow expansionists’ noise contours seem not to include us, even though we are badly affected.”
“The same is true of Hammersmith/Fulham where I have experienced noise as a patient in Charing Cross Hospital. I recall one weekend in August 2011 when I was marooned in Riverside ward, unable to get discharged. Woken by aircraft noise, I dragged myself out of bed, hauling the drain with me, to check the time on the ward clock: 04.50. This is no way to live. Many object to being woken early. I think I find the noise most dementing at the end of the day, about 10.30 pm when I would like to get to sleep.”
Ms Balsom said, “I wonder if it is possible to quantify the cost to the UK of the negative health impact of aircraft noise, in terms of heart attacks, strokes and children’s impaired learning. Thank you for conducting the research. It is a relief to know my neighbours and I are not fantasising when we complain about the noise.”
Macquarie Bank gets out of Sydney Airport
Macquarie Bank is ending its 18.6% part ownership of Sydney Airport Holdings, the company with the 99 year lease on Sydney Airport. $1.4 billion worth of shares will go to the bank’s shareholders, with one Sydney Airport share for each bank share, as part of shareholders’ earnings.
Macquarie Bank is getting out of the airport because its holding ties up capital for relatively low future returns. The bank has dominated Sydney Airport’s management since organising the successful bid of $5.6 billion in 2002, when the Howard Government privatised the airport. Macquarie Bank took huge success fees out of the privatisation deal and the bank was even paid out $350 million to end its management of the holding company.
Politicians are now free to run airport policy without worrying about offending the bankers. However, Max Moore-Wilton, the chairman of Sydney Airport Holdings, who was John Howard’s Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet, may still have good connections in the Liberal government.
What will Abbott and Truss do?
Nobody knows. All Tony Abbott promised to do before winning the Federal Election was to make a decision about a second Sydney airport during his first term of government. Nobody knows about Warren Truss, who is the National Party leader and the new Minister for Transport.
There are conflicts within the coalition on this and many other issues. Treasurer Joe Hockey represents the noise affected seat of North Sydney and has said he wants a second airport at Badgerys Creek. Unless the government directed some of the jets to use Badgerys, it would be an overflow airport, taking the excess from a continually expanding Mascot. Liberal and Labor governments have preferred to let the market determine these things. Unless Badgerys operates 24 hours, there would still be pressure to lift the curfew in the city.
Showing great complacency about the capacity limitations of Sydney Airport, Transport Minister Truss said he would wait and see what Sydney Airport has to say about whether a second airport is needed. The final Master Plan will be submitted for his decision in December. We know that Sydney Airport’s operators want to preserve their monopoly position and keep their high parking and other charges.
The do nothing option risks country flights being pushed out to the small airports of Bankstown or Richmond, leaving all the big jets in town. Looking after country access to Mascot is a National Party objective, with a number of slots in the peak hours reserved for the regional airlines.
Air pollution going up and up
The worst pollution from jets are the nitrogen oxides (NOx), which cause brown haze or photochemical smog in Sydney. The draft Master Plan by Sydney Airport says NOx emissions from aircraft operations would rise by 90% in 2033 to 4,550 tonnes per year. Sulphur Dioxide from flights would go up by 86% to 368 tonnes per year. Volatile Organic Compounds go up 76% to 657 tonnes per year. Carbon Monoxide from flights is predicted to rise by 75% to 3,444 tonnes per year.
Sydney Airport says they produce only 0.39% of the NOx of the Sydney basin, but they are including Newcastle and Wollongong in the basin, which brings in the Hunter Valley coal fired power stations and the Port Kembla steelworks. This is a gross and inappropriate manipulation of the data.
The Third Runway EIS only counted aircraft emissions when they were on the ground and just after take-off or before landing. The draft Master Plan only includes aircraft emissions for the last 1,000 metres altitude while coming in to land, while on the ground, and for the first 1,000 metres of altitude when taking off. Not for the full emissions while the aircraft is within the Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong airshed.
The question not answered by Sydney Airport is what effect their emissions have in the area where planes are above the 1,000 metres measuring cut-off. Neither do they state how high the local pollution would be in suburbs immediately around the airport.
2013 Volume 18, Issue 1
Airport admits new “quiet” jets won’t reduce noise
The Sydney Airport draft Master Plan predicts that noise will continue to rise north and north west of the airport. The 2033 forecasts are above the 2011 actual noise levels and they are greater than the 2007 actuals.
A February report in the Daily Telegraph that “substantial chunks of the inner west of Sydney will be exempted from aircraft noise within 20 years” because of new “quiet” jets is shown to be false.
In the 2004 Master Plan, the first after Macquarie Bank took over the lease on Sydney Airport, they admitted that new technology would only partially offset noise from the increase in the number and size of aircraft.
While the new Airbus A380 is quieter than a Boeing 747, it is still one of the noisiest aircraft flying from Sydney Airport and way above acceptable noise levels for residential areas. The Airbus average measurement was above 80 dBA (decibels) at Leichhardt Town Hall in 2007, but even though the Leichhardt noise monitor was moved north to Iron Cove, it still shows average noise above 77 decibels. On the lower North Shore at Hunters Hill, the A380 is making 75.1 decibels on take off and 74.9 on landing.
Anything above 60dBA at night or 70dBA in the day time is offensive noise in a residential area according to the Australian Standards for noise from aircraft.
Airport monopoly plays “let’s pretend”
Sydney Airport Corporation is just pretending that they can provide for future growth in order to protect their monopoly profits. Already the busiest two hours on working days are above 85% of the movements cap and morning delays stretch to mid day. The airport cannot cope with the present peak hour demand.
All peak hour slots will be allocated within the next two years according to the federal government’s scoping study into a second airport at Wilton. Air traffic is growing with the ACCC reporting a 22% increase in flights in the past 10 years. The ACCC said Sydney Airport has the worst service and the highest charges of any Australian capital city airport. Sydney Airport cannot provide for overnight international flights as it must be limited by the curfew.
NAN has no confidence in the airport’s noise predictions after they got the forecast wrong in the last Master Plan and had to release a second prediction showing more noise. As the air traffic grows, the noise sharing gets worse with more traffic over the densely populated suburbs north of the airport.
We must move the airport out of the city for all our future air traffic needs and to have a liveable city.
Wilton still being investigated as major second airport
The federal government report into building a second airport at Wilton has found that it would be more expensive than Badgerys Creek due to work to protect the water catchment and extra earth moving on a hillier site. There were also concerns about possible subsidence if coal mining was allowed beneath the site.
Seven options for a new airport at Wilton were considered, each with two 4 kilometre runways and a 2.5 kilometre cross wind runway, which would give greater capacity than the present Sydney Airport.
Transport Minister Albanese said, “the study concludes that the development of an airport at Wilton is possible, but would involve environmental and engineering challenges.”
“The government will conduct geotechnical analysis of the Wilton site to determine the impact mining subsidence could have on airport development.”
Albanese has been criticised for doing four airport studies without making a decision on a second airport, but he did approve the expansion of Sydney Airport in the 2009 Master Plan.
Richmond may be used as a stop gap second airport
Albanese also said he will “commence discussions to explore the possibility of opening up RAAF Base Richmond to civil aviation. Opening RAAF Base Richmond to civil aviation could ultimately allow 5 million passengers to pass through the airport each year.”
Using Richmond or Bankstown as a second airport is the worst possible scenario for people affected by the present Sydney airport. Richmond’s single runway is only 2,134 metres long, too short for all but small domestic jets and regional aircraft. This would allow smaller aircraft to be moved out of Mascot, making more room for the big noisy jets.
Richmond airport has an established suburb at either end of its single runway and cannot take overnight flights, meaning there will still be pressure to reduce the curfew at Mascot.
What’s with all the suburban airports?
If Richmond was used as a stop gap airport and then a bigger airport built at Badgerys, Sydney would have three suburban airports, with none of them suitable for 24 hour operation by big international jets.
The Howard Liberal government privatised Bankstown Airport and suggested it could be used as Sydney’s second airport. Like Richmond, it would not be able to take big jets or overnight international flights.
The promoters of Badgerys are not saying whether it should have over night flights. Badgerys is within the circle of Sydney’s development and sooner or later developers will be pushing to have housing encroach on the flight paths. It’s happened in Melbourne on the east and south of Tullamarine and in Canberra with a new housing development in part of Queanbeyan.
Wilton is the nearest airport site outside the city limits and can be connected into the City Rail network. No Aircraft Noise wants Wilton assessed as a 24 hour airport to replace Mascot and be Sydney’s only passenger airport.
Multiple airports are inefficient and costly compared with a single airport because airlines prefer to concentrate on the main/hub airport and it is difficult for passengers to transfer between airports. This leads to inefficient overall use of resources like land and makes the biggest noise impact on communities around multiple sites.
WestConnex motorway a subsidy for Sydney Airport car profits
The proposed WestConnex motorway would double the M5 tunnels and have tunnels joining the airport to the eastern end of the M4 motorway with exits to Camperdown and Leichhardt. The rationale is to provide links for the airport and Port Botany as well increasing motorway access to the city from the west and south west.
Sydney Airport runs very profitable parking stations and they want people to come in cars and pay to park. Despite saying they want an increase in public transport access to the airport and the removal of the ticket surcharge on the airport railway stations, they don’t offer to buy the two stations to reduce the fares.
The port is best served by upgrading the railway line by duplicating the tracks. All of the bridges and cuttings were built with room for a second track. The federal government has spent a billion dollars building a southern freight line to separate freight trains from the suburban train lines out to the Moorebank freight terminal.
The West Connex will only increase congestion and pollution in the inner city, but not improve access for people in the west. Public transport and active transport are what we need for Sydney.
Sydney Airport Master Plan 2039
A New Airport
Western Sydney Airport EIS
Archive Newsletters 2013-2015
Archive Newsletters 2010-2012
Archive Newsletters 2008-2009
Archive Newsletters 2007
Many cities have moved their airports out of inner city locations
How to move Sydney Airport
Future Sydney Airport sites
Future Sydney Airport Options
Australian Noise Exposure Forecast for 2029
N70 Noise Contours 2024 Predictions and 2001 Actuals
Australian Noise Exposure Map for 2024
Labor Party Noise Map
Liberal Party Noise Map (1996)
Sydney Airport Curfew
Badgerys will fail
Micky Mouse airport
Sydney Airport CAP under pressure
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