Flightpaths over the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek will be spread out to minimise the impact on the local community, the federal government says.
In the draft airport plan and environmental impact statement (EIS), aircraft flightpaths showed aircraft landing at the airport would be at between 5,000-7,000 feet over the Blue Mountains community of Blaxland just west of Penrith.
However, Federal Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher says this “point merge” will no longer be part of the airport’s airspace plans.
Instead, flightpaths will be spread out as part of a comprehensive noise mitigation plan to be contained in the final EIS due for release before the end of 2016.
“It is very important that the new airport operates in a way which addresses concerns about flightpaths and aircraft noise so as to meet the expectations of the community,” Fletcher said in a joint statement in May 6 with two local members Louise Markus (Macquarie) and Russell Matheson (Macarthur).
“The Turnbull government fully recognises the need to minimise noise impacts for the people of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains and we will continue to work with the community as the airspace design moves forward.
“Developing optimal flightpaths to minimise noise and environmental impact requires detailed technical work and expert input. That work is underway, with a clear direction given that the flight paths will not merge to a single point over Blaxland.”
Fletcher said the instruction to no longer have a single point merge was based on community consultation, which has included about 5,000 submissions to the draft EIS.
The government’s announcement comes after the federal opposition called for night time restrictions at the airport, with aircraft directed to take off and land in one direction during overnight hours as part of minimising noise to surrounding communities.
In the 2016/17 federal budget handed down on May 3, the government allocated $115 million towards site preparation and a rail study for the airport.