No Aircraft Noise News 2017, Volume 22, Issue 1 April 2017         

Sydney Airport CAP is essential for residents – don’t change it

Kerrie Mather, CEO of Sydney Airport stated in Sydney Morning Herald of 16 February, that Sydney Airport is seeking to “modernise these 20-year-old [restrictions]"  and expand the flight movement cap to cater for increased flight movements (more flights per hour) citing the current era of quieter planes as justification.
No Aircraft Noise issued a media release on the 17 February in response to the article.  We were interviewed on two ABC radio programs.  Outlined below is an extract from our media release.
Whilst, planes are becoming “quieter” they are also bigger or more powerful so the difference in noise is not discernible to the human ear.  The Airbus A380 mooted as a “quiet plane” is still the second most noisy plane using Sydney Airport.  Therefore, there is no valid argument to increase the CAP Sydney Airport based on quieter planes. 
No Aircraft Noise believe the flight movement CAP should NOT be expanded as it is essential for a reasonable life in Sydney and would spell the end of noise sharing throughout Sydney returning Sydney to the heavily concentrated flight paths. 
The noise intensity and frequency of concentrated flight paths resulted in the federal government recognising the need for operating constraints on Sydney Airport’s operations. This resulted in the Government implementing constraints in terms of the hours of operation (curfew), the frequency of movements (flight CAP) and access to Sydney Airport for regional planes.  
Tragic Plane Crash at Essendon 

In late February, a Beechcraft B200 Super King Air, with a pilot and 4 tourists en route to King Island, crashed soon after take-off from Essendon Airport, with the loss of all on board. The plane is thought to have had engine trouble. The pilot appears to have turned back to the airport, but unfortunately crashed into the DFO Shopping Centre which is within the airport boundary.
Airport privatisations have put profit before public safety and good planning, says Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning at RMIT University. In an article for the Conversation, he gave examples of how “commercial development is now integrated with traditional airport operations across Australia”. The high prices paid for airport leases reflect the market opportunities they provide.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has condemned the expansion of non-aviation developments within airport boundaries. Before privatization, Essendon had large areas of grass alongside the runways which made the airport safer when planes got into difficulties.
Over many years local residents argued against development occurring so close to runways at Essendon, but their voices fell on deaf ears. Sadly it has taken the loss of 5 lives to bring this message to the fore.
Sydney Airport wanted to build a bulky goods shopping centre near the end of the third runway in 2007, but was refused permission by Mark Vaile, who was then Transport Minister in the Howard government.  Safety and traffic congestions were the reasons for this refusal.  Airport developments are determined by the federal government and can avoid planning controls of state and local governments.

Changes to Aircraft Navigation in Sydney and Australia

As part of the transition to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), the Air Services Navigation Rationalisation Project switched off 179 ground-based navigation aids on 26 May 2016.  This will transition pilots from using ground-based navigation to satellite as their primary means of air navigation within Australia.

Air Services is redesigning some of its landing procedures at 50 airports across Australia by 2018 but it is unlikely that Sydney Airport will be included in the changes. 

At the March, 2017 Sydney Airport Community Forum meeting, Air Services reported that Sydney Airport approaches do not use Performance Based Navigation (PBN) due to concerns that it may result in concentrated flight paths.  Instead, at 40-60 kms out of Sydney pilots are moved from the satellite tracking system to manual air traffic controlled landing approaches.

Air Traffic control redundancies threatened safety in busy holiday season

Last July, Air Services Australia announced a restructure with 900 jobs going nationwide.   Air Services operate air traffic control nationally. At Sydney Airport, there was a loss of seven vacancies due to redundancies, transfers and resignation.

In November, the Civil Air union and several airlines were so concerned they spoke to the media about their safety concerns and the impact to the flying public during the holiday season.  John Lyons, the Virgin Independent Pilots Association president said “You can’t make 25 per cent of your workforce redundant without having some operational impact”.

Overtired airport ground staff a risk to air safety
The ABC’s 7.30 Report has exposed the shocking exploitation of airport workers who load and unload aircraft for Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, Singapore Airlines, Tigerair and others.
In November 2014, a Tigerair jet was pushed back from Brisbane terminal for take off with a cargo door open. The open door was spotted by aircrew and air traffic control and the take off was aborted. In another dangerous incident, a worker was locked inside a cargo hold and lucky to be heard banging on the door before the plane took off.
The contractor is Aerocare, which claims that safety has not been compromised and that workers have agreed to an enterprise bargain allowing split shifts.
Workers are forced onto split shifts,staying up to 14 hours a day at an airport but only getting 6 or 7 hours work. Many are sleeping rough under airport terminals in dreadful conditions. Aerocare only guarantees 60 hours a month to its workers.
The Transport Workers Union has called for an emergency meeting of the aviation industry.

“Following revelations last night, it is clear the system is broken. We need an industry-wide Award that protects wages and conditions, gives workers rights and protections and ensures high training, safety and security standards,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon
The union also says that the enterprise agreements have been pushed through by Aerocare and are below award standards. The workforce seems to have little bargaining power despite their critical role in airports. The federal government seems unconcerned about their conditions and employment minister Michaela Cash told the Senate: “The point is this - they are employed under an enterprise agreement that has been negotiated between the employer and the employees. They have agreed on the terms and conditions.”
Air safety as well as working conditions and workplace safety are on the line here.

No Aircraft Noise News 2018 Volume 23, Issue 1,June 2018

Lining up for more noise

By necessity, Sydney Airport has a curfew preventing most flights after 11 pm and before 6am and a limit of the number of flights per hour at a cap of 80 movements.  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission monitors prices and performance of the main airports in Australia, but says it does not have power to regulate them.

The ACCC report states that “Sydney Airport, Qantas, Virgin Australia and the Tourism and Transport Forum have all recently pushed for a review of these (curfew and movement cap) restrictions, arguing that they limit the airport’s ability to support growing demand, particularly in the international passenger market which is experiencing historic growth.”

The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia has said they are concerned about additional restrictions on airlines at Sydney. NAN is trying to save the existing limits on the amount of noise the airport can impose on people living under the flight paths, we didn’t know there might be new restrictions.

Sydney Airport’s new CEO Geoffrey Culbert is pushing for change to ease the operating rules which limit flights to 80 per hour. The Australian Financial Review reports that he ‘will stress the economic cost of delayed flights as he prepares a "constructive and collaborative" new push on policymakers.’

Sydney Airport’s operations impose noise on residents above acceptable limits, as shown by the noise maps in their operating plans.  Nothing should be done to ease restrictions, they must be maintained and improved.

When and why did Badgerys Creek Airport get "high jacked" to a region airport?

The Australian and NSW Government published the report of the Joint Study on aviation capacity in the Sydney region in March, 2012.  The Joint Study reported on short, medium and long-term aviation infrastructure and supporting surface transport requirements of the Sydney region and developed strategies and locations to meet future aviation needs for the Sydney region in consideration that physical and operational constraints on Sydney Airport limits it’s ability to supply Sydney’s future aviation needs.  The study found:

By 2020, all slots on weekday mornings between 6.00am and 12noon and between4.00pm and 7.00pm will be fully allocated, so growth of passenger capacity at these times will be dependent on aircraft upgrading to larger planes.

By around 2027, all slots will be allocated, so no new entrants can be accommodated, unless another service is cancelled.

By around 2035, there will be practically no scope for further growth of Rapid PT services at the airport. 

1. This aviation passenger and movement growth in demand will increase pressure to reduce Sydney Airport’s operational constraints which are:

2. Limit of 80 movements per hour, and Curfew from 11 pm to 7 am which a should period between 6 - 7 am with some flights allowed in this window, and

3. Access of regional smaller planes to Sydney Airport. 

In April, 2014 the Australian Government announced  that Badgerys Creek will be the site for a new airport in and for Western Sydney.
When did the jobs and infrastructure agenda for Western Sydney highjack the need for an additional airport servicing all of the Sydney region?

The new Western Sydney Airport will be operational in 2026 and will build from a low capacity design based on projected population growth in Western Sydney.  Initially, the rail link announced in March, 2018 is for Western Sydney only and there will be no rapid public transport from Northern, Eastern and Inner West suburbs resulting in other Sydney residents finding it difficult to access Western Sydney Airport.  Western Sydney Airport will not provide airport services to the majority of Sydney due to the excessive travelling time for Sydney based passengers to access the airport.
However, in 2006 a Sydney Airport study found only 11% of passengers start or end their journey in Western Sydney.  So where is the additional capacity needed to service extra Sydney based demand between 2020 and 2026 at Sydney Airport coming from?  The only option is for a fast rail link (unlikely) or releasing some of the operational constraints at Sydney Airport.
In summary, Badgerys Creek Airport has been high jacked to be a regional airport by a political agenda and the infrastructure and business lobby groups.  There will be no relief for long suffering, noise affected Sydney residents with increasing pressure to reduce operational constraints on Sydney Airport for short term capacity increase at the expense of the community.  The  non-Western Sydney area of Sydney will find in more difficult to access aviation services from Western Sydney Airport within a reasonable travelling time from Sydney.
Long awaited Badgerys Creek airport rail to service Western Sydney only. In March, the federal and New South Wales governments announced joint funding for the $7bn north-south rail link to connect Badgerys Creek airport to the Sydney rail network at St Marys.  This announcement is part of the Western Sydney infrastructure spending and services both the Badgerys Creek Airport and the business park at North Bringelly.  The plan is to have this rail link operational when the Badgerys Creek Airport opens in 2026.  This will allow Western Sydney residents to access the new airport but does nothing for the majority of the Sydney based passengers to enable them to access the Badgerys Creek Airport.

It is expected that the rail link budget will need to be extended to over $15bn when the rail link is expanded to Campbelltown and Leppington.   However, even with this extension it does not significantly improve access to Badgerys Creek airport within a reasonable travelling time from Sydney for the majority of the flying public.

The rail link would head north to St Marys with the possibility of linking it to the new south west line at Leppington. North of St Marys the line could be extended to meet the north west railway, but as the NSW government has made this a metro, not a heavy rail line, people would have to change trains there and the opportunity for a circle line including the new airport has been lost.

The federal budget for 2018 – 2019 has allocated $50 million for a business case study for the railway.  Without a rail link, the viability of the airport is seriously compromised.
Computer Glitch causes Sydney Airport Chaos

Early on Friday 9th March, a “technical problem" affected check-in processing of passengers at both the T1 international terminal and the T2 domestic terminal at Sydney Airport. The CCTV system at the airport was affected by the problem. The T3 terminal which is operated by Qantas was not affected.
A tweet from Sydney Airport just after 6 am advised passengers and visitors to avoid the airport. Despite this, the numbers of outbound passengers in the affected terminals built up very quickly.
The airlines were unable to process passengers at their usual rate. Virgin Airlines announced that they were processing passengers with a limited capacity in the circumstances. They recommended that passengers proceed to the airport as planned for their flights. They were holding flights to minimise disruption to passengers.
By 8:30 am it was announced that the problem had been resolved, and that the security and safety of passengers was the airport’s priority. However, the knock-on effects included disruption of the timetable of flight movements, as well as the build up of out going passengers. It took most of Friday to bring the airport’s operations back to normal.



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