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Who said Sydney doesn’t have a second airport?

written by WOFA | January 22, 2013

A rare sight - a Qantas aircraft at Bankstown after diverting from Sydney after curfew. (Lee Gatland)

Passengers aboard a late evening flight from Moree to Sydney found themselves arriving at Bankstown on January 18.

The diversion occurred after the aircraft departed late from Moree and was unable to perform an over-water landing in Sydney after the curfew because tail-winds were too strong.

One of the passengers onboard contacted Australian Aviation to say: “In 25 years of flying every week with Qantas it’s the first time I’ve ever landed at Bankstown!

“I felt sorry for the captain who stood at the front of the cabin apologising to everyone. In the end a Qantas staff bus came to collect us all,” he said, not wanting to be named. “It was absolute chaos, but very funny; although not everyone thought so.”

The captain said the over-riding need to get the aircraft back in Sydney meant it could not overnight in Moree.


  • Red Barron


    Surely the dash 8’s, ATR’s and SAAB’s can have extended curfews into Sydney. They are soo quiet and approx 4-5 a night after curfew is not too bad. The governments needs to stop being soft cocks and albanese a puntz and let the regionals come in a little later and depart earlier.

  • Nicholas Roche


    The curfew is a joke, as the aircraft are a lot quieter nowadays. Also the airport has been there a lot longer than the nearby residence. At least they should extend it to 1am.

  • Ron


    “In 25 years of flying every week with Qantas…” Give that guy a medal!

    Kudos for the flight crew for putting safety first & not landing in the tailwind.

    Now can we please sack Albanese?

  • Peter R


    The A380 and the older models of Dash 8 aircraft have almost the same decibel levels, yeah that’s right…..A 50 seater with the same noise level as a 450 seater.

  • pez


    More proof, not that it was really needed, that the curfew is a joke. Perhaps Qantas could look to recoup some of the costs of the diversion from the Govt? 🙂

  • Daniel


    Damn I wish i could have been there to see it land and take off from YSBK!! 🙁

  • Simon


    I know of instantces where aircraft would have landed at 30 seconds past eleven, and have been told to go around because they missed curfew. What makes more noise?: An aircraft landing with low power or applying full power to go around!? Good one Albanese! “World Class Airport” he says!

  • Keg


    Agree with all of the above comments. This Dash would have caused more noise for more people diverting from KSA to Bankstown than if they had landed a few minutes after 2300 on 34L. We need adults in charge of policy, not these dills.

  • Alan


    so please explain to me from those who provide opinions but very few truthes – what the heck does the Minister for Infastructure etc have to do withis story other than a few Alan jones fans having a rant

  • rodger


    agree with what alot of u say , however to the uninformed , curfew , its a residential area , even heathrow has a curfew, let me know where u live and we will get an a 380 dangling it gear over yr bedroom at 0100, sydney needs a second airport , mascot is bursting at the seams , the talk fest has lasted 30 years , enuff is enuff !!!!

  • James


    TO EVERYONE WHO LEAVES NEAR THE AIRPORT: it was there before you, why choose to live near it if you’re going to complain about aircraft all night?? There are plenty of aviation lovers who would happily take your place and then the curfew could be lifted, it’s just a joke for such Australia’s biggest and busiest airport.

  • Dan


    I wouldn’t have bough under the flight path in the first place….

  • Peter


    I fly jets to many countries and am still, after 3 decades of flying, amazed that a country which prides itself on its’ aviation heritage could allow such a ridiculously EXTREME curfew policy to apply to any of its’ airports, especially one of its’ biggest.
    I have no problem with curfews in general, but the Sydney curfew is a real threat to aviation safety.
    It is an example of politicians interfering in the cockpit in the worst way.
    If I arrive late to Sydney because of an inaccurate wind forecast, an in-flight failure or any other legitimate reason, I should be permitted to go ahead and land as this is often the safest option for many reasons and the delay is usually only minutes.
    Shape up Sydney, you’re an embarrassment.

  • Jeff Atkinson


    I agree with James.If you choose to live in a city like SYDNEY,You have to expect and endure what is there to service us all.Are we not the first to whinge that public services are not readily avail at your convieniance.to get every where like now.Well i lived in hounslow for a while under the flight path of thievesrow and i had heaps of mates come round to watch concorde come in or take off over a bbq.This airport should be operating more at night and an hour earlier in the morning.Dont care about Albanese.No one will remember him for what he did ! But a person who just gets on with it and makes the right decisions with savings of billions of tax payers money will be .

  • Philip Argy


    I’ve lived under a flight path since 1958 and remain a happy little plane spotter. Lifting of the curfew has never been on the cards and the logic that says anyone living under the flight path should expect that is flawed. 11pm to 6 am is a fair sleep window that I’m entitled to continue to enjoy. Lifting the curfew is like saying abolish all annual leave for workers. People’s REASONABLE expectations should be honoured, and maintaining the curfew with its current limited exceptions is one such expectation.

    Having said that, I would support a more flexible set of extenuating circumstances around the curfew shoulder.

  • Dee


    Peter R, Q-Link has hardly any Dash 8 200/300 classic’s left; the main fleet are the Q-300/400 which could fly over your bedroom on ‘finals’ and you wouldn’t be woken by the noise.

  • Shane


    Curfew because KSA is in a residential area. WTF is Bankstown then? Anyway, after 11pm there are still aircraft taking off and landing. Just not RPT.

  • James from Sydney


    Those of you who think the curfew is a joke don’t seem to understand that having planes fly over all night is not an “inconvenience” that people complain about but more a case of making it impossible for people to sleep. Sound insulation is not a solution because it is not 100% effective and would cost a bomb, money better spent on another airport. Wouldn’t it be smarter to do what the rest of the world does and build new airports in undeveloped areas away from high density cities?

    For those of you who suggest people not buy close to the airport, what’s the alternative? If this was the case since the airport was built, then it would be surrounded by vast undelevoped land. We’re talking about prime real estate close to the CBD.

    Never thought I would ever say it but I’m glad that politicians (who fear voters) make these decisions and not plane enthusiasts.

  • Michael Anderson


    As far as I know, F100’s, BAe146’s & virtually all turbo props can land at Bankstown. All of these can land in curfew except F100’s.

    Apparently up to 12 rotations a day are permitted at present for passenger ops, but no reason this couldn’t be introduced dramatically.

    Airports like Essendon could handle these, plus Archerfield in Brisbne south could take turbo props & up to 80 seaters now.

    BNE, SYD & MEL are all horribly congested at peak hour !!!

  • Ron


    To answer Alan’s question (What it has to do with the Minister for Transport), the Minister’s electorate is right underneath the flightpath for Sydney runways 34 (on take off) & 18 (landing)., basically right up to the perimeter fence (http://www.aec.gov.au/profiles/nsw/files/2009/2009-aec-a4-map-nsw-grayndler.pdf).

    He is the one responsible for the legislation which governs the curfew & only he or his delegate can authorise take offs & landings during curfew by aircraft not already permitted to operate at that time.(http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/environmental/pdf/airport_curfews_general_information_fact_sheet.pdf)

    Only a few other airports in Australia have curfews. Melbourne (Tullamarine), Brisbane & Perth international airports don’t. Maybe they don’t have as many residents living under flightpaths (someone can correct me on that), or maybe those electorates are held by Liberal members (someone can correct me on that too). Or maybe those residents just don’t matter in the grand scheme of federal politics.

    But in my opinion, the minister has a direct conflict of interest where he is both (conveniently) the Federal Transport Minister responsible for the curfew, & the member for the electorate most affected by it. To use one’s position for their own personal political benefit is an abuse of power.

    To James from Sydney, China & the UAE can build huge airports in undeveloped areas because
    1. They HAVE undeveloped areas
    2. Their governments can easily afford to without going into debt
    3. They can easily afford the supporting infrastructure – fast trains, freeways, etc, without going into debt
    4. Their governments aren’t answerable to voters.

    Neither our state or federal governments have any of these luxuries. We have to do the best with what we have, & with this curfew, we’re not.

  • John N


    Firstly I’m not “anti” Sydney Airport or “anti” aviation, in fact, quiet the opposite.

    But a bit of a reality check for all the people here who use the old tired line that “the airport was here before the houses”, what a load of rubbish! What rock are you lot living under?

    I live in Drummoyne under the flight path, 10.5kms from the airport, my house was built in 1910, I’ll repeat that NINETEEN TEN! And as you get closer to the airport, the houses are even older, a lot from the late 1800’s too.

    In fact if you did at least a 15K radius around the airport I’m sure that most of properties would have been build prior to the 1920’s, that is a significant amount of the population of this city, so that dispels that myth.

    In regard to the curfew, I have a 7 hour break, eg sleep time, but the other 17 hours of every day, every week, every month and every year I have aircraft movements over my house, there are times when a 747 has taken off and goes over my house, it shakes and rattles, I’d hate to think what its like for those who are only 5-6k’s from the airport!!

    Yes of course an A380 is a lot quieter, but you sure as hell still know it’s going over, nothing wrong with the curfew from me and my neighbour’s perspectives.

    And yes there has to be a balance between the commercial and ecomonic reality of operating Sydney Airport and the well being of a significant portion of Sydney’s population, and again, I have to put up with nearly 3/4 of my day, every day, with aircraft movements.

    So what’s the solution?

    We need a second airport, where I don’t know, but far enough away that it can operate 24/7 and it needs the appropriate infrastructure to allow the fast movement of passengers and cargo, this of course all requires the Government to have the guts, and money, to stop talking and get on and do it.

    Will it ever happen?, propabably not for a very very long time!



  • C. Gull


    In reply to John N

    It might be a tired old line John, but it’s invariably valid. Although your house was built in 1910 you chose to live in it in recent times.


    C. Gull, Bribie Island.

  • John N


    Yes Mr C Gull, it an old tired line and not particularly valid, should we bulldoze a quarter of the city under the flight paths? Then the airport could operate 24/7 and there would be no one left under it, is that your solution?

    And yes I did choose to live here and so do the Million or so other Sydneysiders who live within a 15k radius of the airport, and no doubt we all have chosen to live here based on the “current” curfew system too.

    Again, as I said previously, I’m not anti Sydney Airport or Aircraft, in fact I’ve flown in and out of Mascot in the last few days, it is handy being close to it.

    But it comes down to a “balance” between the transport and economic needs of the city and also the well being of a good quarter of the Sydney population. As it is at the moment, people like myself get respite for a bit over a quarter of the day and we live with it the rest of the time.

    What we need is for the Government to just get on with making a decision on a second Sydney airport and with it’s necessary infrastructre too.



  • Red Barron


    Got a bit side tracked here with the 747’s and A380’s this is about a Dash 8 landing out of curfew.

    John don’t by chance have a DB Meter that you could get some levels from some arrivals and departures to compare the Turbo props to the jets? Would love to see what levels you get……

  • John N


    Red Barron,

    No I don’t have a DB meter, just my ears!!

    It is interesting though, I regularly see, especially in “peak” times, both heavy jets and lighter aircraft, Dash 8’s or similar, lined up just to the north of my place on their approach for landing, they almost appear side by side at times for the two east/west runways.

    But I rarely, if ever, see Dash 8’s etc, come over when they are taking off, maybe they have tracked away before they get to my place (10.5k’s as the crow flies from the airport), or they may use the north/south or take off over the Bay, don’t know.

    What I do get during take offs for the Heavy Jets is a spread of tracks, just to the north, pretty well over and further to the south of my place.

    It is certainly is a very distinct difference between an A380 and a 747, the A380 is still fairly loud, doesn’t last as long, but it appears to be, well “smoother”, like they are cutting through the air more cleanly, hard to actually explain.

    But when it’s a 747, apart from being louder, sometimes when they go over, and usually when they are tracking to the north at the same time, you get this heavy “vibration” in the air too, as I said, quiet distinct differences between the two types.

    As a side note, last Friday, 18th, when we had that really hot day with the hot westerly’s and then in the early evening when the strong southerly change blew in, the meeting of the two air systems caused a hell of a lot of turbulence.

    I was out the front with a mate and we saw about 5 jets in a row having to abort their landings, all of a sudden the landing gear went up and they all peeled off to the south, never see that happen before.

    It was an amazing sight, as soon as they passed over the Gladesville Bridge area, they were rocking and rolling and heavily tossed around.

    The most amazing sight was the Qantas A380, man that giant of a plane was being tossed around, gear was down, then quickly up again.

    Glad I wasn’t on any of them, would have really needed a change of underwear after that!!!



  • Ky


    Very simple. When will the useless state government and the federal government committ to a new Sydney airport. This is getting really frustrating listening to them bicker. No arguements. Build one now

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