Australia’s federal opposition is proposing a night time “no-fly zone” over the proposed airport at Sydney’s Badgerys Creek to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on surrounding communities.
Instead, flight paths for all takeoffs and landings between 2300 and 0600 will be in a south-west direction to avoid residential areas.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Opposition transport spokesperson Anthony Albanese said the measures were similar to what was currently in place at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, where aircraft permitted to operate during that airport’s 2300 to 0600 curfew were directed over water and not over residential communities.
“Labor will act to ensure there is no noise impact on existing residences and communities from night time flights as part of Badgerys Creek Airport master planning,” the pair said in a statement on Thursday.
“This will ensure Western Sydney benefits from the economic boost Sydney’s second airport will deliver – including thousands of jobs – while communities aren’t disturbed by night time aircraft noise.”
Shorten, Albanese and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen spoke about Labor’s policy in Sydney on Thursday.
Labor supports the economic benefits of Badgerys Creek Airport while protecting residents from night time noise. pic.twitter.com/jtVipwad2j
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 21, 2016
The federal government’s draft airport plan and environmental impact statement for the proposed Western Sydney Airport showed a 3,700m runway on a south-west, north-east orientation.
Arrival flights will be directed to north west of the airport and be between 5,000-7,000 feet when over Penrith and 2,000ft near Bankstown when landing on Runway 23.
Meanwhile, departing aircraft on Runway 05 would be at about 5,000ft by the time they were over Blacktown and at 10,000ft by the time they were at RAAF Base Richmond if headed north, or at 10,000ft between Camden and Picton if heading south.
The master plan said it was planned for the airport to operate on a curfew free basis.
“Curfew-free airports provide significant benefits to communities and businesses by supporting growth in local, regional and national economies,” the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website said.
“Melbourne Airport’s curfew-free status allows for the movement of an extra two million passengers a year and adds $590 million to the Victorian economy through visitor spending.
“While the proposed Western Sydney Airport is planned to operate without curfew, demand for flights at night would not be as high as demand during the day. The majority of flights would be in the 7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm peak periods.”
Meanwhile, Labor said the simultaneous operations for takeoffs and landings to the south-west was one of several noise mitigation measures for Badgerys Creek, including landscaping and shared flight paths. The opposition has also committed to having rail links at the airport.
The federal government “declared” Badgerys Creek as the site for a second airport in the Sydney basin in August 2015, which ensured further planning work on the airport could proceed and airspace around the proposed facility was protected from potential high-rise buildings.
Sydney Airport, which has a right of first refusal (ROFR) to build and operate a second airport within 100km of the Sydney CBD, was expected to receive a “Notice of Intention” or sales contract to build and operate the proposed airport from the federal government in 2016.