Earlier Newsletters

November, 2009 Volume 14, Issue 3

The greening of Mascot - new suburbs to replace the old airport

What would be the best use of the current Sydney Airport site, after we have moved theairport out of our city? With Sydney’s population predicted to grow to as much as 7 million by the middle of this century with the Federal Government’s immigration program, medium or high density housing will be essential. It may not be a good idea to expand that much, but Sydney will need more housing. The new suburbs should also have parkland, especially along the Botany Bay frontage. Waterfront walking and bicycle tracks could join up the existing paths.

Employment land will also be needed. Next to Port Botany and connected to the city with two existing railway stations, the new suburbs ca provide a good location for
import/export and high tech industries. Over 900 hectares will become available, slowing the expansion of housing on the city’s fringe.

Jets blast suburbs awake – Qantas and BA fly through the dust storm

Twice Qantas and British Airways jets have rudely awaked people before the end of the 6 am airport curfew. Each time they have attempted to land in bad weather, first in thick fog on Thursday 17 September and again during the massive dust storm on Wednesday 23 September.

AirServices Australia told an angry Summer Hill school teacher that the Thursday flights had been given permission to land at the airport from over Botany Bay, but had been unable to land because of the fog. ASA says that the responsibility rests with the pilot in command of a jet whether to attempt to land.

Qantas flight Q6 and BA flight BA15 aborted their landings on Thursday just after 5 am and on the following Wednesday it was again Qantas Q6 at 5.06 am and BA15 at 5.33 am which blasted through the dust storm. A Summer Hill man recorded three of the planes at 75 decibels (dBA), 62 dBA and 78 dBA - way above the background noise in the quietly sleeping suburb.

Some international jets are allowed to land before the 6 am curfew ends, but they are not supposed to fly over the densely populated suburbs nor h of the airport. Even the planes landing over Botany Bay still disturb many people in Kurnell, Kyeemagh, Tempe and Botany, regularly disrupting sleep.

Why didn’t they divert to another airport when it was oblivious that the fog and the dust storm made it dangerous to attempt to land in Sydney? These overflights have not happened for many years – are the airlines trying it on? We know the airlines don’t want the curfew to remain at Sydney Airport.

Lots of near misses in NSW skies

AAP has reported that there is an average of ten near misses between aircraft in NSW every year. Since January 2007 there have been 32 near misses between civilian planes above Sydney. The closest near miss involved a Saab a raft and a helicopter. The Air Transport Safety Bureau reported that two near misses resulted from air traffic controllers being distracted or making mistakes.

There is a continuing fear that sooner or later we will have a major air crash in Sydney. Flight paths are increasingly complicated and the expansion of a nearby second airport increases that risk.

A crash near Sydney Airport threatens some of the densest housing in Australia, as well as the Orica chemical factory, the Port Botany LPG terminal and Sydney’s major petrol refinery at Kurnell.

Bankstown Master Plan: Sydney’s worst possible second airport

Bankstown Airport has applied to operate interstate jet services to Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as more flights to regional NSW. The want to operate 32 passenger flights per day, up from 12 at present. While this is low number compared to 800 flights per day at Sydney Airport, these flights would position Bankstown as a de facto second airport. Most of Bankstown’s air traffic is general aviation, air freight, flying schools and flying clubs. Total flights are expected to reach 427,000 per year, or 1,250 per day.

Bankstown Airport denies that it wants to be Sydney’s second airport, but its Master Plan means that’s what it could become. This is the worst possible second airport for Sydney as Bankstown, like Mascot, is surrounded by houses. Bankstown would only take regional aircraft and smaller jets, preventing any removal of international jets at Mascot and increasing noise in both sets of suburbs as big jets replace small aircraft at Mascot.

In its submission to the Aviation Green Paper, Sydney Airport asked to be allowed to move regional aircraft out of the peak hours. The airport also asked the Federal Government to let them increase their airport charges or regional aircraft so as to make it more likely they would move to Bankstown. (See pages 6 and 7, Sydney Airport submission at http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/nap/submissions.aspx )

Bankstown was the Howard Government’s second airport, a plan admitted just once by former Transport Minister John Anderson in December 2000, before Bankstown was privatised. “The Government has decided to make Bankstown Airport available as an overflow airport for Sydney,” he said. (Media Release 13 December 2000)

Macquarie bought out of running Macquarie Airports for 45 million

Macquarie Bank has scored a fabulous windfall from giving up the rights to manageMacquarie Airports, a holding company with investments in Sydney and European airports. Strapped for cash in the financial crisis, Macquarie Bank has cashed up the future value of managing the airport company, estimate value around $10 million a year. Or maybe they think they have sucked as much as they can from the airport monopoly. Macquarie Bank remains a major shareholder in Macquarie Airports.

Labor dumps Aviation Community Advocate

The Labor government has stopped independent technical advice on aircraft noise by failing to renew the contract of Aviation Community Advocate Tony Williams and discontinuing the position. Williams reported to the government’s hand picked Sydney Airport Community Forum. The forum’s March meeting called for the position to be continued.

The community needs independent expert advice on aircraft noise. Information on aircraft noise is not always openly available or easy to understand. It doesn’t help when Sydney Airport uses the “commercial in confidence” excuse to avoid telling NAN the mix of aircraft using the airport in 2029. The Air Services Australia noise complaints line is understaffed, unhelpful and patronising to people who call.

Williams did his job too well for the government’s liking. He found that the noise forecast in the airport’s 2029 Master Plan seriously underestimated the noise caused by night time flights of large jets. This is documented n the SACF submission on the Master Plan, available in pdf form from No Aircraft Noise.

Keneally misses Canberra planes

NSW Planning Minister Kristina Keneally said that noise from planes using Canberra Airport wasn’t a big problem for a proposed new suburb of Queanbeyan. “And when I visited Tralee a few months ago, standing on the site of the proposed school, I must say that the aircraft noise was hardly significant”, Ms Keneally said. She visited the proposed development site during a mid afternoon lull while planes were using a different flight path.

Threat of sausage sizzle stops Tiger stripes

Tempe residents were outraged by Sydney Airport’s proposal to allow Tiger Airlines to paint giant tiger stripes on a disused water tower on airport land next to Tempe Reserve. Transport Minister and local MP Anthony Albanese was n very sympathetic to residents at first, but as the resident’s campaign gained momentum with a planned sausage sizzle, Albanese decided to act. As Transport Minister, he is the determining authority for developments at Sydney Airport, so he was able to refuse permission for the tiger stripes. One small step for the long suffering residents!

A simple proposition: Sydney Airport will soon be full

The existing airport will run out of capacity in about ten years (15 years at best). It will be full. What will the Government of the day do? Expanding the existing airport is not practical. Will they buy Tempe and St. Peters to expand the airport? If so, they should also buy another couple of 100,000 dwellings at Sydney prices under the intolerable air corridors.

In order to make way for the construction the Sydney Harbour Bridge which commenced in 1923 an estimated 469 buildings – homes and businesses on the north side of the harbour – were demolished with little or no compensation. That won’t happen today. Property owners have the right to claim compensation fro he Commonwealth (Lands Acquisition Act 1955). But we have no legal rights for compensation for aircraft noise. http://sydney-harbour-bridge.bos.nsw.edu.au/building-the-bridge/rivets.php

Successive Federal Governments Have Failed Us In 1983 the then Federal Government directed the Department of Aviation to find a suitable site for a second airport. It was acknowledged then (page 3 of the 1985 EIS) that "A decision to take no action or to defer or abandon the site selection process at this time is s unlikely to remove the issue from the public agenda." They chose Badgerys Creek as the site and they failed us. What we needed was a new airport to replace the existing one, instead they Labor built the third runway and dumped more noise on Sydney residents.

Ten Site Locations Nominated for the 1985 Study Closer sites: Badgerys Creek, Bringelly, Holsworthy, Scheyville and Londonderry. (The Howard Government examined and rejected a closer site at Holsworthy in 1998)

Mid-distance sites: Darkes Forest, Somersby, Warnervale and Wilton.
Outlying site: Goulburn.

These were short listed by evaluating amongst other factors, airport layouts and the average number of residents that would be displaced. This process resulted in Badgerys Creek being the preferred "closer" site and Wilton was the superior "mid-distance" site. Thus it was Badgerys Creek and Wilton that were compared.

The Proposed Wilton Site The original proposal was for a 1,440 ha site of which 1,295 ha was in government ownership. This would make it 59% larger than Sydney Airport. It would be 10% larger than Singapore’s Changi International Airport. But still smaller than all the other capital city airports of which Brisbane is the largest at 2,700 ha. The original proposal appears inadequate for a replacement airport and should be almost doubled in size. 89.9% of the proposed site was on Government land in 1985.

Water quality furphy One of the commonly misquoted criticisms of the Wilton site was that it was rejected for being within the metropolitan catchment area. The proposed site contains parts of four drainage basins: the Allens, Cascade and Wallandoola Creeks and other small drainage tributaries. Water from Allens Creek does not enter the Sydney water supply system. The other creeks flow or are presently diverted into Sydney’s water supply.

The only potential sources of contaminants that were identified are site run-off and effluent from on-site operations. The likely method of dealing with this is pre-treatment on-site prior to discharge to a sewer or complete on-site treatment. Run-off designated as clean (from car parks, roofs, etc) would be discharged into a retarding basin and would be prevented from entering the Sydney water supply system. Suitable drainage systems would just be part and parcel of normal development activity.

The 1985 EIS stated that no contaminated water from the site would enter the supply system (page 467). Further, the risk from emergency fuel dumping would be negligible as the procedure should not be carried out in the immediate area, but out to sea as should be done at present.

Air pollution Wilton will only remove part of the air pollution from the present Sydney Airport out of the Sydney basin. It will be more efficient, hence less pollution and is near the edge of the basin so some of the pollution will be blown elsewhere. As the busiest air route from Sydney is to/from Melbourne, locating the airport on the southern side reduces pollution from overflights. As ground transport is more fuel efficient than aviation, the extra distance to Wilton will be compensated by shorter flights to Melbourne.

It is unlikely that any airport solution would incorporate an outlying site. If anything, a mid-distance site like Wilton would lessen the impact otherwise imposed by a closer site. Wilton should be assessed as Sydney’s only public transport airport.

August, 2009 Volume 14, Issue 2

2009 Monster Plan approved
Two concessions, one betrayal and no effective action

On 19 June, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese approved Sydney Airport’s Master Plan for massive expansion of the airport. The airport wants to increase air traffic over the next 20 years to 427,400 flights per year, up from 286,100 in 2007.

When he was in opposition, Transport Minister Albanese condemned the 2004 Master Plan because it meant more planes, more noise and more road traffic congestion. The huge number of planes meant that the plan threatened the curfew and the cap on maximum aircraft movements per hour. Nothing has changed; the new plan is for even more planes.

Why then has Albanese approved the airport’s Master Plan for the next 20 years? It seems that pragmatism is reserved for those in opposition, whilst hypocrisy is reserved for those in government and the forte of our Minister for Transport is short term memory loss.

Minister admits Sydney Airport cannot cope with future air traffic

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese has conceded that Sydney Airport cannot provide for our future aviation needs. “As the Airport gets busier, the supporting road and rail infrastructure will become more congested, delays more frequent,” Albanese said. Albanese doesn’t accept that the airport “can and should handle the projected growth in traffic.”

Macquarie Airports’ chairman Max Moore-Wilton recently claimed that Sydney Airport would be able to cope with the next 20 years of air traffic demand. Moore-Wilton said that after the Global Financial Crisis was over, air traffic would grow at 4-5% per year. No Aircraft Noise calculates that Sydney Airport will be overloaded well before 2029 at that rate of growth.

The claim that Sydney Airport can cope with future demand has been undermined by the airport’s request for regional aircraft to be moved to Bankstown Airport and out of the peak hours.

Residents under pressure: another concession

Despite approving the airport Master Plan, Albanese also said that the predicted traffic volumes “would place considerable added pressure on those communities living around the airport”. As the airport gets busier, this would result in “nearby residents exposed to even longer periods of aircraft noise”.

Sydenham in the minister’s seat of Grayndler would not have a single day’s respite from aircraft noise. The East West Runway is only available for noise sharing when there are less than 45 flights per hour. Under the Master Plan, this will be exceeded from 6.30 am to 10.30 pm, increasing the noise on suburbs immediately north of the airport.

Albanese will be dumping up to 469 planes per day on his electorate. While Sydney Airport claims that noise will fall from 2024 to 2029, it will be much worse than at
present. The “new, quiet” aircraft are still very noisy and there will be lots more of them. Albanese has announced a second airport study, but his statement made no promise to limit or reduce aircraft noise.

Second airport slow moves

Transport Minister Albanese has invited the NSW Government to take part in a study for a second Sydney airport in an admission that Sydney Airport cannot cope with future traffic demand. The terms of reference will not be finalised until after the White Paper on Aviation is completed later this year. Waiting until then is a further bureaucratic go slow on action to reduce aircraft noise. The Badgerys fiasco was the last attempt to build a second Sydney airport, Labor failed in 13 years, the Liberals didn’t build it in 11 years.

Albanese needs to say how he would manage a two airport system without it resulting in more noise in Grayndler. Splitting air services for Sydney will not provide an effective and integrated transport system.

A new airport for Sydney should be close to the city, able to take the full range of aircraft, have an acceptable location for 24 hour operations and be connected to the city’s transport network. It’s time to move the airport outside the city.

Sydney Airport under estimating noise in 2029

Sydney Airport’s 20 year Master Plan has not produced an accurate noise forecast. There would be lots more aircraft noise in 2029 than they have admitted. Mistakes in the airport’s noise forecast include the day and night numbers of big jets and there will only be small gains from new aircraft. The flight paths used in the 2029 forecast differ considerably from the actual 2007 flight paths and the Long Term Operating Plan.

These mistakes and more are detailed in the government’s Sydney Airport Community Forum submission to the Draft Master Plan. Sydney Airport has already passed its environmental capacity and we must stop it from increasing the noise and pollution it dumps on our homes.

Jetstar fined $148,500 for breaking Sydney Airport curfew

The Qantas cheap flights airline Jetstar has been fined $148,500 for taking off after the 11pm curfew on 3 December last year. The Airbus A330 jet took off for Bali at 11.28 pm even though it had been refused a dispensation to operate during the curfew quiet period. The maximum fine for breaking the curfew is $550,000.

Jetstar has appealed against the size of the fine, but had pleaded guilty to breaking the curfew. Jetstar said they had kept passengers waiting for eight hours because of
mechanical problems with the A330 and had nowhere to put them up in Sydney for the night. They also wanted the penalty reduced because they had taken off over Botany Bay, ignoring the fact that homes nearest the airport are affected by such flights.

A model of hell

19 April Sunday was a model of hell that awaits the Inner West in a few years: the East-West runway closed due to construction work and ALL the landings were going through the north. It started at 6am sharp and went on non-stop until the night with 20 landings per hour in average (around 20 of them between 6 and 7am) and roaring 40 landings per hour at the peak time around 6pm.

You wanted to sleep in on your hard-earned Sunday? To have a quiet time with a book on your balcony? In this area, you are not entitled the privilege of an 8-hour night sleep or quality time at home due to the insatiable greed of the airport and decades of chronic inaction and useless rhetoric of the federal government.

From an Inner West resident

What Does an Amsterdam Airline Crash have in common with Sydney

Remember an airline crash with the loss of 9 lives in Amsterdam early this year? On 25 February, Turkish Airlines Flight TK1951 crashed 1.5 kilometres short of the main runway in Amsterdam. If this had happened in Sydney there would have been a major loss of life and property.

At the estimated Sydney Airport crash site - on approach from the north for the main North/South runway - homes, light industries and the major southern railway line could have been destroyed, depending on ignition of fuel and other combustibles in the crash zone. The loss of life would have included aircraft passengers and crew as well as people on any trains or cars/ buses/ trucks that could have been involved.

By comparison to our worst airline disasters of the past in (not including military aircraft):
2005 = 9 wide body jet crashes with major loss of life
2002 = 10 wide body jet crashes with major loss of life

After just seven months in 2009 there have been nine catastrophic crashes of wide body jets with significant loss of life! And this area’s representative in federal parliament approved an increase to air traffic over Sydney!

The last assessment of crash risk was done in 1990 and found the area bounded by Rockdale, Leichhardt and Kingsford would be above the guidelines for NSW (risk of death to the public off site from an industrial accident) by 2010. Sydenham was estimated to be 100 times that level and Stanmore ten times.

NAN member told “go back to Mt Isa”

From a NAN member: After the Macquarie Airports AGM, up came one of the Macquarie fellows and asked if I had any questions. I said ’not a question but a comment’. I then said that the parking charges were prohibitive, etc. and the airport shouldn’t be in the middle of the city as it was a danger in many ways. He told me he once lived in Lilyfield with his son and he knew about the noise but it was OK and that he now lived in the Blue Mountains. I told him I was from Mt. Isa and since the sale of Sydney Airport regional airports were suffering. He asked me if I was a shareholder and for simplicity’s sake I said yes. He asked me why and I said ’so I could see what was going on’. He then told me he couldn’t do anything for me and I should go back to Mt. Isa, and walked off. Refreshing.

March, 2009 Volume 14 Issue 1

Airport capacity heading for a brick wall

The Sydney Airport Master Plan is a plan for 20 years with passenger growth projections of 4.2%. Airbus and Boeing predict 4.9% which is a significant further increase in passenger and flight demand over the period of the plan. The average size of aircraft would have to rise by 59% to push through so many passengers, but the Airbus projection is only 25% for the next 20 years.

Therefore, how long will Sydney Airport capacity last? Heathrow has a 24 hour operation, a larger site, with 5 other airports in the London region and is at full capacity at 67 million passengers per annum. In comparison, Sydney airport is forecasting 79 million passengers per annum, but with an 80 movements per hour cap and a curfew. In summary, Sydney Airport’s operational capacity forecast cannot be achieved.

The likely impact of under-estimation of passenger numbers and operational constraints above is that capacity will not last 20 years and could be a little as 10 years. Our view is that this will result in pressure on the curfew, cap and noise sharing arrangements to provide more capacity on Sydney Airport in around 10 years.

In the National Aviation Policy Green Paper released 2 December 2008, the NSW Government and some airlines are expressing capacity concerns, commenting that Sydney Airport was already full at peak times. There will be a pause during the current economic crisis, but Sydney Airport capacity is heading for a brick wall.

New Master Plan another failure

Sydney Airport’s 2029 Master Plan fails to give Sydney people the quiet, clean air and safe suburbs we deserve. It also fails to provide us an adequate airport for Sydney’s needs.

Russell Balding, the Sydney Airport CEO claims that aircraft noise will fall from 2024 to 2029 (“Flights through Sydney tipped to rise by nearly half”, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 September). This is fifteen years from now. We can’t wait that long and it would still be worse than today’s noise.

Noise maps released with the plan show a massive increase in noise from today’s levels, especially north and northwest of the airport. They must use a comparison with the most recent results, the actual 2007 aircraft noise, not the 2024 prediction.

Croydon, Hunters Hill, Annandale, Rosebery, Botany would all have big increases. All the suburbs closer to the airport will experience more and bigger aircraft overhead. Suburbs out to Macquarie Park, North Ryde and Rydalmere would all experience more than 10 flights a day (average) above 70 decibels (dBA) for the first time.

The plan for 427,400 flights per year would mean that the current noise sharing will be impossible from 6.45 am until 10.30 at night. Once the traffic gets over 45 movements per hour, the East West Runway closes and all traffic is on the parallel North South Runways. More passengers per plane will result in larger, noisier aircraft.

Air pollution will continue to rise. Greenhouse gas production is made worse by the inefficient layout of the airport, with long taxi times to the third runway. The airport is using a new method of calculating air pollution and does not compare the predicted pollution with what they are dumping on us today.

As in the last Master Plan, the airport has not bothered to assess the risk to the public from this massive increase in aircraft numbers. No Aircraft Noise analysis has found that the airport is underestimating future growth in order to protect their monopoly position at Mascot.

Sydney Airport cannot be allowed to make Sydney life a miserable and polluted hell. We must plan a future with peace and quiet, clean, fresh air and safety for our suburbs. You can find the master plan on the airport’s web site under Corporate Information.

Green Paper’s grim future

The Federal Government’s Aviation Green Paper does not acknowledge that Sydney Airport is way over the Australian Standards for aircraft noise affecting buildings and it is forecast to get worse. Transport Minister Albanese’s foreward only mentions the environment once.

The Green Paper does not call for a reduction in noise for people affected by Sydney Airport, unlike Albanese’s maiden speech to Parliament where he called for less flights over the inner west. Then he wanted to be a warrior, now he is a bureaucrat.

The Green Paper dumps the responsibility to avoid land use conflict on the community to avoid new noise sensitive developments along flight paths, but allows the airport to spread noise over noise sensitive people.

Noise relief is limited to maintaining the existing curfew, cap and noise sharing. In other words, it allows the situation to constantly get worse as the size and number of jets increases.

After Sydney Airport’s 2009 Master Plan has been considered, the Government will “initiate a process to identify additional capacity for the Sydney Region, consistent with the Government’s support for a second airport for Sydney”

They have no intention to do other than provide additional capacity. They don’t even pretend that a second airport would reduce noise in the city. Amazingly, the Green Paper was reported by some media as though Albanese was on a hunt for a second airport site.

This is weak, weak, weak; we know what we want and this Green Paper fails utterly. A White Paper will be produced later this year.

Editorial: Labor’s game of let’s pretend

Let’s pretend Labor will build a second airport. Let’s pretend that would help lower noise in the city. But Labor policy is only to “find a site” for a second Sydney airport.

Transport Minister Albanese is on a go slow – one year for a Green Paper, then wait for the airport’s Master Plan, then a White Paper, then an election will be due, so wait again; a whole parliament will go by with no real progress.

Two years after Hawke took office, a site selection process involving 10 sites, and an EIS on Badgerys and Wilton, the 2 most promising second airport sites, had been completed. Transport Minister Peter Morris had been keen to build a second airport, but the industry wanted to expand Mascot, so Labor built the third runway instead.

The problem with second airports is that they are used to maximize capacity at the main airport. Heathrow continues to expand despite secondary airports at Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton and London City. A second airport is just for smaller aircraft and it leaves us with the big, noisy jets and an ever-lengthening peak hour.

Labor hopes to “manage” the noise problem – like the Liberals they will fiddle with flight paths, have a “community” consultative committee and in addition hold out the hope of a second airport.

We should demand a replacement airport every time they promise a second airport. We can point out the failings and inefficiency of Mascot as well. A replacement airport will get us peace in the city and a modern, efficient and low greenhouse gas generating airport for the future.

Mobile machines used on East West runway

Every time NAN has checked out the work on the East West runway, mobile cranes, diggers and pile drivers have been used. The airport had claimed they were unable to lmove machinery off the site to allow the runway to be returned to use for noise relief north of the airport. Sydney Airport is extending the East West Runway to create a longer safety run off area. NAN asked that the work be done at night so that the runway could be used each day to spread the noise.

The airport’s bluff was called on the excuse that they couldn’t work at night when they agreed to the condition imposed by Transport Minister Albanese that they would work up to 22 hours per day.

Sydney Airport has two more excuses for not operating the runway during normal hours. They claim that pilots don’t want to fly over a big hole in the ground that is beyond the safety run off zone. In addition, large structures above ground level would interfere with flights. So far, half way into the work, no above ground structures have been seen.

Cronies rotated at “Community” forum

Former Labor Mayor Barry Cotter has replaced former Labor Mayor Vic Smith as chair of the Sydney Airport “Community” Forum. Both were appointed to the committee by Transport Minister Albanese to give Labor a majority over Liberal, Green and independent representatives.

Albanese expressed surprise that the appointment of Cotter would be seen as cronyism. In his media release, Albanese said, “While recognising the importance of the Airport to the NSW and national economies, Mr. Cotter has consistently championed the need for genuine dialogue between its operators and local residents.”

We don’t want a “genuine dialogue” with the airport; we want the noise to end. We want the Australian Standards enforced on the aviation industry. They must be stopped from destroying our living conditions. Cotter’s roe is to protect Labor and Albanese and minimise any embarrassment or pressure from SACF.

September 2008 Volume 13, Issue 2

Albanese approves effective closure of the East West Runway

Transport minister Anthony Albanese has approved the airport’s plan to build a runway end safety area on the western end of the East West Runway, with 22 conditions. There will still be a huge increase in noise north and east of the airport with a loss of the current quiet periods.

Three out of the four ways of using the East West Runway will be closed during the runway extension. Take offs and landing to the west will be closed and landings from the east will be closed. The only movements available will be take offs to the east, a noise sharing method that is available now with take offs on the third runway turning right over the Eastern Suburbs.

The only improvement that the minister has made to the original proposal is that by requiring all the work to be done in the eight month full closure period he may have relieved residents of a further ten months of partial closure noise increase. But we don’t yet know what hours the EW runway will be open in the partial closure period.

Albanese has called the airport’s bluff that they could not safely work at night, but not on fully opening the runway for daytime operations.

The airport’s excuses for closing the runway are woeful. The idea that formwork for the concrete pour needs to stick up above the top of the concrete is wrong, they would only need a metre at the very most above the ground level. Having a hole (a giant pit) beyond the temporary 90 metre safety area is not a problem, as the planes would just fly above it, like they fly above the Cook’s River. The cranes are their remaining excuse, but they can use mobile cranes to clear the runway end.

Sydney Airport has outgrown its inner city site. There is likely to be further runway safety extensions required by international aviation authorities in the future and the airport just does not have the room. Residents are being dumped on again.

Maxine McKew asked to stop 17 hours a day noise

No Aircraft Noise distributed 14,000 leaflets in the marginal lower north shore electorate of Bennelong. Residents used the NAN website to ask new MP Maxine McKew to ensure that the Labor Government makes Sydney Airport keep the East West Runway open to spare northerners a huge increase in aircraft noise.

McKew won the seat by just 2,434 votes from former Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard in last November’s federal elections, so we hoped she would listen to residents angry about aircraft noise. East Ryde, North Ryde and Gladesville are predicted to get 70% more aircraft movements if the East West Runway is closed.

New research shows that aircraft noise can raise people’s blood pressure, even while they’re asleep. The leaflet states that Dr Lars Jarup of Imperial College London found that people living near airports are likely to have a greater risk of health problems.

Marrickville Council takes strong stand against extra noise

No Aircraft Noise congratulates Marrickville Council for demanding that work for the East West Runway safety upgrade be done during the curfew at night. The motion was moved by Greens Councillor Sam Byrne and passed as the Greens had the majority at that meeting. In addition, councillors demanded that the airport avoid excessive construction noise into the nearest suburb of Kyeemagh.

This would have meant that the East West Runway would remain open and Marrickville would be spared the 48% increase in aircraft noise proposed by Sydney Airport. Sydney Airport proposes to close the runway for 8 months, diverting all air traffic onto the north south flight paths and takingaway the respite from continuous noise for Marrickville residents.

Editorial – make your vote count in council elections

On Saturday 13 September, we will all vote in local council elections. We should consider the policies and performance of the parties and the independents on the airport issue, particularly with the looming East West Runway closure.

The Greens have the position nearest to No Aircraft Noise, with their policy being to move the airport out of the Sydney Basin. Greens councillors are keen to fight the airport’s expansion and protect our quality of life.

The most prominent independent Mayor is Clover Moore, who also supports our idea of moving the airport out of the city. Other independents vary greatly, and some are puppets for the main political parties, especially the Liberal Party which does not usually contest council elections.

Labor has a shocking record, having built the third runway and supported the Liberals’ airport privatisation bill in the Senate. Labor’s plan for a second airport, even if they did it this time, would still allow Macquarie Bank to run 80 flights an hour for 17 hours a day through the existing Sydney Airport.

The Liberal Party ended Labor’s concentrated flight paths and spread the noise, temporarily reducing the problem. But they sold Sydney Airport to Macquarie Bank, complicating the future by the necessity to negotiate with, or compensate the bank in order to move the airport out of our city. Macquarie Bank, of course wants maximum traffic to increase their profits.

No Aircraft Noise advocates a vote for the Greens, or for a good independent to gain the best action from your council.

Consultant said East West Runway need not be closed

A report to the Sydney Airport “Community” Forum by Aviation Community Advocate, Tony Williams said that the airport could re-open the runway by using Frankipile drilling machines designed to be lowered quickly. Williams said that this has already been done at one Australian airport. Williams recommended that, as a minimum, the runway be re-opened every weekend to reduce the impact of noise on residents.

After the 8 months runway closure, the airport also wants to open the East West runway only after 7pm and before 7am for a further 10 months of construction work. Sydney Airport’s plan to re No open the runway every evening shows that they could just as easily open it for every day in this phase of construction and do the work at night instead.

New “quiet” jets fail reality test

Claims by airlines that new jets are much quieter have been disproved by noise monitoring carried out by Air Services Australia. Monitoring at Leichhardt shows that the much hyped giant Airbus A380 and the new Boeing 777 are above 80dBA, way above the acceptable noise levels for residential areas and louder than heavy traffic on Parramatta Road.

Qantas and Singapore Airlines want to have the night curfew and the 80 movements an hour cap “relaxed”, claiming that newer “quieter” jets make this possible. The curfew, giving us only a minimum of seven hours sleep, must be retained.

While the airport remains within the city, Qantas and Singapore must accept that there will always be a curfew and limits on the noise they can make. Our challenge is to move the airport outside of the city.

Yes minister lines up with airport, Qantas and Singapore Airlines

Transport minister Anthony Albanese has joined Sydney Airport’s orgy of self congratulation over the giant Airbus A380, which they claim is much quieter.

Speaking at the Australian War Memorial on 25 June, Albanese said “the Airbus also has a smaller noise footprint on take off and landing, which reduces the impact of aircraft noise on residential areas.” This echoes the claims of Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Sydney Airport, which all claim that new jets should allow a relaxation of noise controls on the curfew and the movements cap.

Albanese has been completely Yes Ministered by Air Services Australia which is misleading people with false interpretations of noise statistics. Air Services are claiming that the small reductions in  noise compared with the noisiest current model jet, the Boeing 747-400 represent a big improvement.

Monitoring at Leichhardt shows that this is not the case. At Sydenham, the noise is even worse, with the Airbus A380 above 90dBA. At every monitoring station within the seat of Grayndler, currently represented by Albanese, the Airbus is above 70dBA, even if it doesn’t fly directly over that monitor.

Albanese must say whether it is satisfactory to operate this huge jet above residential areas, when it puts out so much noise and pollution. The Airbus is above the noise levels that Albanese has set for construction noise on the East West Runway.

Environment Minister should have been consulted on East West Runway closure

Philip Lingard of the community group Sydney Airport Community Forum Inc said that the Airports Act requires the Environment Minister to have been consulted on the airport’s plan to close the East West Runway.

Lingard said “the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act, which is now in force, means that the MDP also has to go to the Environment Minister (Peter Garrett) for consideration and approval if it alters existing aviation airspace arrangements in a manner which may be detrimental to the human environment.”

In the past, the airport has refused to make the final MDP public. In the case of the shopping centre near the third runway proposal, they made big changes, but wouldn’t release the details. NAN wrote to the airport and the minister, asking that the final MDP be made public, and that a month be made available for public comments to the minister. The airport has refused to release the plan, claiming that only the minister can do this.

May, 2008 Volume 13, Issue 1

Say No to Sydney Airport through new NAN website
The new NAN website was launched this week and will allow users to send emails for our campaigns to end the noise.  The first campaign email will call on people to tell Sydney Airport and local MPs to keep the East West Runway open and not dump 17 hours a day noise on us.   The new website has a lively format and will be regularly updated with the latest news.
Seventeen hours a day if the East West Runway closes
A huge increase in aircraft noise in suburbs north of the airport has been predicted in Sydney Airport’s Major Development Plan for the Runway End Safety Area.  The early morning, mid day and late evening flights now on the East West would all be directed to the north and south of the airport. The airport’s draft Major Development Plan can be viewed at http://www.sydneyairport.com.au/SACL/Corporate+Information/Runway+Safety/default.htm.
Closing the East West Runway would increase flights in the Inner West immediately north of the airport by 48% and also increase flights on the Lower North Shore by 70%. Inner West predicted increase is from 143 flights to 212 per day average and Lower North Shore from 97 up to 165.
The airport proposes that the runway would be completely closed for 8 months and closed from 7 am to 7 pm for another 10 months, ending noise sharing for 18 months.  The work would begin in October if Transport Minister Albanese approves the MDP.  Already the runway has been shortened by 90 metres to allow a temporary safety area, as the airport has failed to meet the 1 May deadline set way back in 2003.  This has resulted in an extra 22 planes per day north of the airport, as the biggest jets can no longer use the shortened East West Runway.
Airport must do the work at night
Back in 2003 the Civil Aviation Safety Authority told the airport that 90 by 90 metre safety areas must be built at each end of all the runways.  The airport did this on all runway ends except the western end of the East West Runway.  That area has the South West Ocean Outfall Sewer, the M5 Motorway tunnel and high voltage cables which need a land bridge above them to support the weight of an aircraft that lands short or runs off the end of the runway.
The airport claims that occupational health and safety reasons mean that the work must be done in the day time, but the RTA and the railways do much of their construction work at night.  They also say that the noise would be too great in the nearby suburb of Kyeemagh, but they don’t mind blasting that suburb with jet arrivals from 5 am, or even earlier with jet engine testing.
There are many ways to design a bridge and many ways to build one.   Sydney Airport must make the effort and be prepared to spend the money to do the work during the night curfew and keep the runway open during normal hours.  The airport has failed to find the technical solution to allow the work to be carried out during the curfew period.  They have also failed to organise construction with quiet machinery to limit the noise into the nearest suburb of Kyeemagh.
Macquarie Bank has cut costs and ramped up passenger charges at Sydney Airport to maximise their profits and must now pay the extra expense of carrying out the safety work in an environmentally acceptable manner.
The East West runway at Sydney Airport should be kept open to save residents north of the airport from up to 17 hours a day non-stop aircraft noise.  The runway closure would be a taste of things to come if Macquarie Bank is able to continue expanding Sydney Airport, with noise sharing overtaken by operating at near to maximum capacity all day.  The East West runway can only take 45 flights per hour, above that, the airport must use the two North South Runways.
The whole fiasco shows the folly of continuing with an inner city airport.
Let Sydney Airport know what you think.  Submissions to the Major Development Plan will be received until 18 June.  Go to the NAN website and click on ACT NOW or write to Mr. Ted Plummer, Manager - Major Projects Consultation and Communications, Sydney Airport Corporation Limited, Locked Bag 5000, Sydney International Airport NSW 2020.

Albanese’s challenge – protect your electorate ahead of Sydney Airport                  

Now that he is the Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese has a dual responsibility. Albanese is also the member for Grayndler, the noisiest electorate in Australia.  He must now send Sydney Airport back to the drawing board again as their runway closure plan is an outrageous imposition on people north of the airport. 

Albanese recently told the Daily Telegraph that engineering advice meant that the East West runway would be closed, despite the public consultation by Sydney Airport.  He should not prejudge the outcome of the process that he insisted the airport undertake.

“Community” forum closed to community and media
The first meeting on February 15 of the new Labor appointed Sydney Airport “Community” Forum was closed to the public and the media.  The new Rudd Labor Government had promised open government, but the Transport Minister closed this important meeting.
Like the former Liberal Government, Labor has carefully selected the members of the forum to give itself a majority.  Only two of the members, from Kurnell and Canterbury, are community members, the rest are local, state or federal politicians.  Former Labor Marrickville Mayor, Cr Barry Cotter was appointed as a “community” member and former Labor South Sydney Mayor Vic Smith was appointed to chair the meeting.  Smith is also the Administrator of Walgett Shire.
Slow search for a second airport
Labor will not start searching for a second Sydney airport site until after the next Sydney Airport Master Plan is completed late next year.  That’s waiting two years after taking office to even start looking for a new site.  Transport Minister Albanese has released a Green Paper on Australian Aviation, see http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/nap/index.aspx.  Albanese wants to hold out the false hope that Labor will one day stop dumping on its safe inner city seats.
There is no need to wait until after the next Sydney Airport Master Plan is completed next year, we already know that there is an outrageous increase in noise from the current master Plan.
Labor’s aviation policy is to “develop an integrated Sydney Transport Plan that provides for Sydney’s future airport needs, including a preferred second Sydney airport site outside the Sydney basin. Labor will maintain the cap and curfew at [Sydney] Kingsford Smith Airport and implement the Long Term Operating plan maximizing take offs over water”.
Any new airport should be assessed as a replacement for the existing inefficient and noisy monster.  The danger with a second airport is that it can be used to maximise the main airport by taking small aircraft out and taking the peak hour overflow.
Short term planning with 10 or 20 year horizons allows continuing “patch up” development like the third runway fiasco at Sydney Airport.  A long term approach would look at the airport in context with the city’s needs for the future. 

Qantas copping fines and gaol for freight cartel

A former Qantas executive has pleaded guilty to charges relating to a cartel of airlines which colluded to set air freight prices between Australia and the US.  Bruce McCaffrey, who will spend eight months in a US gaol, is the former Qantas head of freight in the US.  Australian based Qantas executives will not face extradition to the US, as price fixing is not a criminal offence in Australia.

Qantas was fined $US61million after admitting to a US court that it was part of the cartel. The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) is investigating Qantas and may take action about other price fixing. A class action for $A200 million has been launched against Qantas, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and British Airways by Australian law firm Maurice Blackburn.

November, 2007 Volume 12, Issue 3 (including Special Federal Election Update)

Federal elections 2007: No Hope versus False Hope
The Liberal Government is offering no hope for future reductions in aircraft noise.  They’ve done all they’re going to do and they’ve dumped most of the noise onto Labor electorates.  By diverting take offs to the north west while over the Labor seat of Lowe, they have reduced the noise over Bennelong and North Sydney, held by Howard and Hockey.
Howard approved Macquarie Bank’s Master Plan for Sydney Airport which aims to triple passenger numbers and massively increase the noise over the next twenty years.  It will also concentrate noise north of the airport again as the east west runway can only be used when flights are below 45 per hour.
In addition the Liberals have privatized the general aviation airport at Bankstown and allowed the new owners to plan for commercial flights.  Again they have dumped the noise onto Labor electorates and by choosing a small airport for Sydney’s second airport, they have ensured that all the big jets stay in the inner city.  No hope from the Liberals.
Labor’s policy is to “develop an integrated Sydney Transport Plan that provides for Sydney’s future airport needs, including a preferred second Sydney airport site outside the Sydney basin.  Labor will maintain the cap and curfew at [Sydney] Kingsford Smith Airport and implement the Long Term Operating plan maximizing take offs over water”
Local Labor members, when pressed, will point to the second airport plan to identify a site, but that is only a false hope.  Labor will still allow Macquarie Bank to carry out its Master Plan which is possible under the cap and curfew limitations.  Macquarie will push the airlines to use larger aircraft and try to lever smaller regional aircraft out to Bankstown.  Labor parliamentarians opposed the Master Plan, but nothing in Labor’s policy will prevent it.
In the long term, the only solution to ever worsening aircraft noise over Sydney suburbs is to move the airport outside the city, our policy which is supported by the Greens.
This airport is making us sick - Jets raise blood pressure in Kurnell
A study by Sydney academics has found that people in Kurnell are more likely to have higher chronic noise stress and blood pressure as a result of aircraft noise.  Kurnell was compared to a similar demographic suburb at South Penrith, which is not affected by aircraft noise.
Kurnell was chosen as it experiences noise above 70 decibels (dBA) more than fifty times a day.  70 decibels is enough to interrupt conversations inside a house.  The study used a detailed questionnaire to ask people about their health problems and screen out other reasons for high blood pressure, like smoking or being overweight.
The World Health Organisation’s definition that “health includes physical, psychological and social well being” was used as the starting point for the research.  The authors state that existing noise measurements “underestimate the social impact of aircraft noise because health effects have been ignored when formulating environmental management plans at airports.”
Suburbs with similar noise from jets stretch from Drummoyne to Kurnell on the north south flight paths and from Rockdale to Daceyville on the east west flight paths.
Good medicine – bad public policy
The study looked at the possible ways to remove or reduce aircraft noise – relocating the airport “as in fact was achieved in Hong Kong and Jakarta.”  But they said it’s hard to find a new site and the commercial interests in the present airport make closure unlikely. 
The study suggests a return to concentrating noise on the north – south runways as a way of reducing the number of people affected, but don’t mention that this makes extreme noise in those suburbs.
What about extending the quiet period of the curfew by two hours and making the quiet time from 10 pm to 7am.  But this would take out up to 160 flights a day from the private owners who would want compensation. 
Similarly extending the noise insulation scheme would be extremely costly.  “The benefits of an improvement to the quality of life of residents, community facilities and educational establishments would have to be calculated to argue for the enormous costs of this extra building insulation scheme.”
However, the researchers want to try relaxation techniques and Mental Silence based Sahaja Yoga Meditation to see if that helps residents cope with the noise.  How they are going to find yoga teachers for 150,000 people has yet to be explained.  Would residents have free classes and would they be compensated for their time?
This proposal is another example of dumping the problem on the victims instead of reducing the pollution at its source.                     
Climate Change to Limit Aviation’s Future?

In 1999 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that the aviation industry accounted for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions in 1992, but that this would rise to as much as 15% by 2050.

The cost of air transport has decreased rapidly over the years, and air travel is growing at about 5% a year. Hence it is not surprising to find emissions from aviation growing faster than any other industry sector. To make matters worse, air travel produces far more carbon dioxide (CO2), than any other form of public transport. Its not just the CO2, jet contrails have a surprisingly big effect on the climate, so much so that restrictions on night flights has been suggested as a way of easing aviation industry’s contribution to global warming.

The environmental damage caused by planes is not being paid for, and environmentalists are justifiably angry, complaining that airlines get a free ride when it comes to environmental taxes. Indeed as a aircraft fuel is taxed no more than 2.5c a litre, the free ride extends beyond that of the environment. With global warming becoming a very big issue, airline company realise that they are in the firing line.

In mid 2007, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), urged the aerospace industry to develop a passenger aircraft with zero carbon emissions within the next 50 years. It is hard to see this happening. Giovanni Bisignani, the director general of IATA, said that aviation’s carbon footprint was growing, and that was not politically acceptable for any industry.

In September, Qantas and Jetstar became the latest airlines to join the rush to improve their green credentials. The airlines introduced a voluntary scheme whereby all contributions are to go towards multiple abatement programs, which may include energy efficiency measures, generation of renewable energy and tree planting projects. There is an added bonus for airlines in buying green credits, because it is a tax write-off in Australia.

Critics say these carbon offset programs do not have a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions, but just relieve the guilty consciences of air travellers because they pay a fee. Greenpeace argues that these schemes avoid the real problem, and that the solution should be about reducing the number of flights. Short trips are of particular concern, a 747 for example, uses 16 tonnes of fuel to take-off, the equivalent of running six family cars for a year. Jeff Angel, from the Total Environment Centre, made a striking point when he said it would take 40-50 years for trees to capture the carbon emissions.
Eyes on the prize: what chance to move Sydney Airport?

There are four possible options for the future of airports for Sydney: one big airport at the present Mascot site

  • current big airport and a small second airport
  • current airport and a big second airport
  • one big airport at a new site outside the city

One big airport at Mascot
This limits the economic benefit of aviation as the site is smaller than required and is limited by the necessity of a night time curfew to allow residents some seven quiet hours

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