Sydney Airport Master Plan 2039

Sydney Airport Preliminary Draft Master Plan 2039 (the “Plan”)

The Sydney Airport Preliminary Draft Master Plan (SAMP) is aligned to government policy of having two major airports in the Sydney region post 2026 when Western Sydney Airport (WSA) becomes operational. No Aircraft Noise (NAN) believe that a single replacement airport outside urban areas would provide Sydney with the best social, environmental and efficient aviation outcomes. However, we have based our submission key elements outlined within the SAMP of:

• No change to the curfew (11 pm - 6 am).
• No change to the aircraft movement cap (80 movements per hour).
• No change to noise sharing arrangements (Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP)).
• No change to access arrangements for regional airlines.
• No change to flight paths.
• No new runways or extensions to runways.
• Improvements to passenger handling through changes to terminals, new satellite customer "piers" with ground transport to terminals and changes to freight handling.
• Improved airfield operational efficiency through infrastructure changes to taxiways, aprons and aircraft parking.
SAMP Figure 6.8 demonstrates that the plan is to run Sydney Airport in 2039 at or close to maximum capacity nearly all day with LTOP mandated respite periods only possible when there is less than 55 aircraft movements per hour i.e. between 9:30-11 pm at night.

The 2012 Joint Study Into Aviation In The Sydney Region identified several significant limitations with the Sydney Airport Infrastructure which shows that it is unlikely to be able to sustain this level of passengers and aircraft movements in this plan. Sydney Airport is a very small airport by national and international standards and has been developed "piecemeal" and hence, is not an efficient aerodrome layout.

Where will the extra capacity for both passengers, aircraft movements and aviation support services are included in updated airfield infrastructure? If Sydney Airport fail to obtain an uplift in efficiency, then there will be political pressure to relax the Sydney Airport operational constraints put in place because of the high environmental and social impact of the noise and air pollution generated by Sydney Airport.

What Sydney Airport and the Aviation regulators are not telling us:

Sydney Airport is planning to have the majority of high value flights and market segments, leading to the majority of air traffic to / from the Sydney region be handled by Sydney Airport and not Western Sydney Airport. This will result in:
• Opportunity for noise sharing via the Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP) will be limited to 9:30 -11 pm by 2039 constrained by capacity on the East-West cross runway. Noise sharing through utilisation of North South flight tracks to spread the noise only offers partial respite as some areas will have no respite at all.
• Move to larger "quiet" planes that are louder than the planes they replace will result in more noise on Sydney residents especially under the North / South flight paths.
• Frequency of these larger planes will result in more, louder noise events with no daytime respite period for residents under the parallel runway flight paths as runway rotation will not be possible and North South flight tracks offer respite for those residents further away from the airport.
• Major Risk: Capacity is limited at this very small airport (by both national and international standards). There is no ability to build new runways. Hence, to increase capacity there will be political and economic pressure to relax airport constraints such as the curfew and the aircraft movement cap as the only way to increase airport capacity. There may be pressure to extend the 16L/34R runway into Botany Bay to enable it to handle bigger jets. These measures will severely impact the residents of Sydney.
• The positioning of Sydney Airport as the gateway to Sydney coupled with the government planning to make Western Sydney Airport a regional airport with no fast rail to / from Sydney will result in the majority of air traffic going to Sydney Airport, the majority of noise and air pollution to be centered on the most densely populated area of Australia and the viability of Western Sydney Airport seriously being undermined. No noise and pollution relief in sight for residents of Sydney.
• Fair Split over both airports: Release the split of passenger and air traffic forecasts between Sydney Airport and Western Sydney Airport to enable the community to assess how fair is the split between the airports based on social impact and not the greed of Sydney Airport grabbing the "lion’s share" of traffic regardless of the social impact.

Read the full report:

Our Recommendations in our submission

(A)  The retention of Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP) mandated  respite periods for people living under the North South flight paths to provide whole hours of respite from jet noise.  This requires periods of flight movements to be under 55 movements per hour to enable the use of the East West Runway.  Respite periods based on flight track corridors are partial only as some areas have no respite.  All flight movements beyond this threshold must be moved to Sydney West Airport when this airport is operation in 2026 to provide respite periods aligned to the LTOP targets.

(B)  Retention of the Sydney Airport Curfew (11 pm to 6 pm) and remove shoulder period aircraft movements to provide respite for residents.  In 1988, Gareth Evans then the Transport Minister stated the shoulder period was introduced as a temporary measure until the second Sydney airport was operational at Badgerys Creek.  Why is it now permanent?

(C)  Retention of the maximum Sydney Aircraft Movement cap at 80 aircraft movements per hour but reduction to 55 aircraft movements per hour during sufficient non curfew hours to enable LTOP mandated respite periods as per LTOP targets based on runway rotation.

(D)  Aircraft noise amelioration should be provided by insulating houses to the Australian Standard AS2021 –2015 Acoustics – Aircraft Noise Intrusion – Building, Site and Construction Standard (AS2021) i.e. within and above the ANEF20 noise contour and in areas where there is no respite periods due to proximity to the airport.  The purpose of this program is to provide a reasonable life for those heavily impacted by any airport and ensure that aviation prices reflect a true cost to provide that service including mitigation of the negative impact on the community using the polluter pays principal. This would lead to better, more informed and more socially minded capital investment decisions.

(E)  Move aircraft flights to Western Sydney Airport when that airport is operational in 2026 to provide a fair split of flight traffic between Sydney Airport and Western Sydney Airport for a better social impact outcome.

(F) Western Sydney Airport to provide insulation to AS2021 for any curfew overflights i.e. insulation where noise is greater than or equal to 60 dBA.

(G) A Sydney based health study as promised be untaken as promised in the Third Runway EIS to understand the health impact of having an airport surrounded by dense urban populations and to create a baseline for forecasting the impact on health and the public health system associated with aviation. 

Our recommendations are based on:

1.    A refutation of the term  "Quiet" planes.

The propaganda term "quiet" planes are aviation industry hype and "marketing" for large planes that in totality produce more noise than the planes they will be replacing and will increase overall aircraft noise based on:

a.    "Quiet" planes are some of the nosiest planes using Sydney Airport as measured by dbA at the monitoring stations.
b.    Larger "Quiet" planes are louder than the smaller planes they are replacing.
c.    Increasing flight movements frequency with a higher proportion of larger planes will absolutely result in more aircraft noise in Sydney as shown by the extension of the ANEF contours north of the airport.

2.    Diminishment in life expectancy  caused by stress

Many international studies prove the impact of aircraft noise on people. These impacts include, annoyance, sleep disturbance, hearing loss, hypertension and cognitive issues in school children. This leads to stress and stress is well documented to cause a diminishment in life expectancy

An increase the health issues from noise and emissions is and will be experienced by Sydney residents. The prediction in the Sydney Airport Master Plan (SAMP) 2039 indicates there will be a significantincreasein noise levels, frequency of aircraft noise events and overall increased noise exposure.

3.    Diminishment in life expectancy caused by  aircraft emissions.

There are serious health impacts on public health associated with aircraft engine emissions and these are primarily concentrated on residents surrounding the airport.  These public health impacts will get worse with increased flight movements as predicted in the SAMP 2039.

4.    The political risk to the Sydney Airport Curfew.

If the planned changes to passenger handling, taxiways, stand and apron infrastructure fail to deliver the planned uplift in number of aircraft movements then there will be political pressure to limit the Sydney Airport Curfew or include larger planes in the allowable flight mix.   This legislation is to be review in 2019.

5.    The political risk to the Sydney Airport Flight Cap of 80 Aircraft Movements per hour.

If the planned changes to passenger handling, taxiways, stand and apron infrastructure deliver the planned uplift in number of aircraft movements then there will be political pressure to increase the aircraft movement per hour to 85 for either peak hour or for the majority of the day.  This was recommendation is the 2012 Joint Study into Aviation in the Sydney Region.

6.    Aircraft Noise Amelioration to the Australian Standard AS2021 – 2015 Acoustics – Aircraft Noise Intrusion – Building, Site and Construction (AS2021).

Insulation to the Australian standard would involve noise insulation of approx. 150,000 houses (using the prediction for noise in 2029 from Sydney Airport’s Master Plan).  A similar program (the Sydney Airport Noise Insulation Program) insulated 4,200 houses within the ANEF30 contour and public buildings within the ANEF25 at a cost of $400 million funded by a $3.40 cost per person over several years. Not to pay for the impact of aircraft noise on the community is resulting in an artificially low aviation costs and fees and creates an artificial bias in capital investment decisions.

7.    Fair split of Aircraft Movements between Sydney Airport and Western Sydney Airport

This fair split should not be based on Sydney Airport grabbing the lion share of profitable flights but what is fair based on social impacts.  Western Sydney Airport should be not be classified as a regional airport that will take decades to obtain volume to be viable.

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