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Labor reaffirms commitment to Badgerys Creek no-fly zone

written by WOFA | June 29, 2016

The federal government has officially "declared" Badgerys Creek as the site for a second airport in Sydney. (Jordan Chong)
Badgerys Creek was expected to open some time in the mid-2020s.

Federal Labor has reaffirmed its commitment to having operational restrictions at the proposed Badgerys Creek airport to reduce noise on the neighbouring community.

In its aviation policy document for the election, published on Wednesday, Labor repeated calls for a “no-fly zone” at night over existing residences to the east of Badgerys Creek airport.

The policy, which was first announced in April, would require simultaneous airport operations where aircraft take off and land in one direction – south west of the airport – during overnight hours. The plans has been criticised by pilot groups.

Further, the opposition said flight paths over the proposed airport would be spread out to minimise the impact on the local community.

“Labor will also implement operational measures to reduce concentration of aircraft flight paths over any particular community, as per existing practice at most airports,” its aviation policy said.

Both sides of politics have proposed restrictions on operations at Badgerys Creek.

In May, the federal government asked for flight paths at Badgerys Creek to be redrawn to eliminate a “point merge” at about 5,000-7,000 feet over the Blue Mountains community of Blaxland, just west of Penrith.


Instead, flightpaths will be spread out as part of a comprehensive noise mitigation plan to be contained in the final environmental impact statement (EIS) due for release before the end of 2016.

Federal Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher said at the time 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.

Shadow transport spokesperson Anthony Albanese said Labor would ensure Badgerys Creek would have a rail link from the day it opened to “maximise the potential for job creation at the airport and aviation-related industries in the surrounding precinct”.

“Badgerys Creek airport needs to be more than just a runway and a terminal,” Albanese told ABC Radio’s AM on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on June 20 he wanted Badgerys Creek to be “rail-ready from day one”.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said on its website it was currently reviewing the 5,000 public submissions on the draft airport plan and EIS.

“The Airport Plan and EIS are expected to be finalised by mid-2016,” the Department’s website said.

Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said in May she expected to receive the federal government’s Notice of Intention (NOI) or sales contract to build and operate the proposed Badgerys Creek airport some time in 2016.

When the Commonwealth sold Sydney Airport in 2002 it included a 30-year first right of refusal to build and operate any airport within 100km of the existing terminals at Mascot.

The indicative flight paths for departures and arrivals at Runway 23 at the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek. (Federal Government)
The indicative flight paths in the draft Airport Plan and EIS for departures and arrivals at Runway 23 at the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek. (Federal Government)
The indicative flight paths for departures and arrivals at Runway 05 at the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek. (Federal Government)
The indicative flight paths in the draft Airport Plan and EIS for departures and arrivals at Runway 05 at the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek. (Federal Government)


  • Bill


    Is there any point building this airport, especially if you intend to neuter it from the get go?

    Yes noise is an important factor, but some compromise has to be reached to ensure that this doesn’t become a sisyphean task.

  • random


    Hard to see the value in building a new airport and immediately restricting its operations. One of the major reasons to build a second Sydney airport is to have a new facility not encumbered by the same or similar restrictions as the existing one.

    I do however agree that rail connections should be there from day 1. It will never be cheaper to build these core elements of infrastructure than when it is a green-field location with all of the equipment and workforce there already. By delaying the build of rail and road (such as building 2 lanes instead of 4) you invite delays and spiral costs as these newer elements have to be built around structures that are already in operational use.

  • Labor logic, let’s build a new airport because the current airport is restricted due to a curfew and stick a curfew on the new one.

    Better than the greens who want to close SYD and oppose the new airport.

    I am sorry but if buy near an airport or near land which is planned to have one you have to deal with it.

  • Adrian P


    The whole project appears very 1970’s with no consideration to the taxi distance between the terminals and the runways. Perhaps NATS in the UK could come up with a Terminal Manoeuvring Area for Sydney similar to the London TMA. Also some thought should be given to the Melbourne TMA if Avalon is to grow and Essendon continues to operate (Essendon was supposed to have been closed once Tullamarine got up and running)..

  • Ben


    I would say that I am usually a Labor Supporter. However I have to say that this decision is stupid and short sighted. I agree that the airport should be curfew-free from the start. I also think that the rail link should be there from day one. Far too often in this country, infrastructure spending from both sides of politics, has been lagging behind or beholden to minority special interest groups – rather than looking at the big picture or the greater good. Having said that – I think the design of Badgerys Creek already lacks vision. I would be developing it to actually replace KSA. (I would shut KSA down and redevelop the land) To achieve that I would have a rail and motorway link to Badgerys Creek from the start. I would build a third parallel runway and at least 2 shorter cross runways and have it as a fully developed airport from day one, without the curfews or movement caps that are currently in place at KSA. If it becomes a second airport as currently intended, I fear it will become just that – An inconvenient, second rate and under-utilised white elephant. While KSA will continue to burst at the seams.

  • Adrian P


    I generally agree with Ben but what is it with Australia that airports must have a cross runway.

    Cross runways interrupt the flow of the main runways and tend to have the inherently dangerous procedure of hold short landings. (As proofed last year at Tullamarine when aircraft have to overshoot/go around it is a case of do we feel lucky today).

  • ted


    I can’t see how you could consider shutting down KSA. The infrastructure there is enormous, and the whole of idea of having a second airport is to spread the load across two facilities to create redundancy and create two options geographically for passengers. Most large global cities have at least two airports for these reasons.

  • Ben


    @ Adrian P The idea of cross runways would not be to use simultaneously with the main runway but so runway designation can be changed with the weather. For example the main runways at the moment according to the draft master plan, are 05L/23R and 05R/23L when the airport is fully developed. You could have cross runways with 32L/14R and 32R/14L directions on the southwestern and northeastern ends of the site. I’m pretty sure based on the room they would be long enough for jet ops (ie: 1800 – 2400 metres depending on how the space is omptimised) May be even able to have at least one of them a bit longer for unrestricted long haul takeoffs. If you can imagine four runways running along the edges of the airport site (2 in each direction) with most of the terminal infrastructure in the middle. This way you can still have dual runway ops like you do at KSA at the moment, but not use all four at once. You could change the runway designations depending on wind direction and still be able to operate at full capacity in events like the the recent east cost low, where KSA could only use its one cross runway. Alternatively you could use all four runways at once if needing to maximise capacity in the right weather conditions. You would just need to optimise separation of movements to ensure safety.

    @ ted – I admit shutting down KSA would be a bit drastic. However it would only be if enough extra capacity could be built in to Badgerys Creek, as per having 4 runways above. Also removing curfew and movements cap. Looking at long term vision for Sydney, KSA could be redeveloped as either residential or retail/industrial. Or being right on Botany Bay could be developed into a major tourist precinct (Think Darling Harbour or Docklands in Melbourne) There are plenty of major cities that have closed or redesignated their primary airport when a new one is built, Think Hong Kong, Denver, Jakarta, Singapore and Melbourne – to name a few over the last 40 years.

  • John Lyons


    With the volume of pre-poll voting as high as 25%, why would a major party bring out updated policy some three days from election day. It appears to be policy on the run and it will lead to lost opportunities to have a highly efficient airport which could be profitable from day one and more likely to replace KSA on a permanent basis

  • Ben


    “… the flightpaths will be spread out’. Sounds nice on paper however is completely impractical for ATC to implement. You need the traffic to follow a defined and known path (to ATC and pilots alike) to provide effective and safe control over the air traffic. This utopia of random noise sharing paths is only possible in the heads of pollies and their NIMBY constituents.

    Lets not forget that the Badgery’s traffic will have to be weaved into the already complex Sydney airspace and traffic that is utilising Sydney International, Bankstown, Camden, RAAF Richmond as well as other smaller aerodromes inside of 45NM and a couple of big ones outside 45NM (Like The Oaks, Wollongong, RAN Nowra, Wilton, Holsworthy Army Barracks, Katoomba, Somersby, Warnervale, RAAF Williamtown). Also there are the restricted areas around Richmond, Hoslworthy, Lucas Heights, Williamtown, Nowra and other locations to consider into this complicted mix!

    Time for the government to stop pandering to people who buy next to an airport (or proposed airport) and then whinge about the aircraft noise! Badgery’s has been mooted in some form or another for over 50 years, if you didn’t know it was coming you’ve been living under a rock.

  • Adrian P


    Well Ben Heathrow started out with six runways (3 pairs) and junked them as a waste of space and ineffective use of the airspace around Heathrow. (The final straw, was an aircraft landing on the last cross runway with asymmetric flap failure crashed into the then new Terminal One and wiping of the tails of a couple of Tridents.
    Also note that Hong Kong, Singapore are very efficient in their operation have a pair of parallel runways both soon to have a third parallel runway. Gatwick with one runway manages to push through more movements and more passengers than Australian airports having multiple runways.

  • ian


    Sydney airport is a big mess & the curfew is a joke.

    1) we all paid Sydney noise tax for years

    2) new aircraft are much quieter

  • Tom O


    And now we are paying the Macquarie Airport Tax

  • Geoff


    We live on the southern end of 01 at BNE(which has no curfew), just over the river. Lived here for several years and while the aircraft can be ‘noisy’, it is only for a 30-40 second,s then they are gone. Like living near a train, you get used to the noise. As for the nose abatement procedures, not sure about these. When you are in the plane, it is a bit worrying when you have to take off pretty steep, a turn, then reduce power to reduce noise, all at the time when the aircraft is trying to settle into the flight.

    Take off and landing are the two most dangerous times for an aircraft. To impose dangerous practices on the pilots and air traffic controllers is not realistic. The modern aircraft is way quieter than its predecessors.

    Amazes me when I see these critics of, “the aircraft noise”, are quite happy to use their mower and whipper snipper for hours, which really destroys the suburb quietness.

  • Rodney Marinkovic


    Incredibly same politician still attempting to dragging in advance operations at future Western Sydney Airport. Construction of W.S.A is reason to operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Any obstruction and limitation to airport operation of passengers an cargo aircrafts is absolutely mindless. Area where is path to landing and take of for night operation is more than large. Fortunately fifty years is over for obstruction from people who opposed second Sydney airport. Unrestricted Western Sydney Airport is way to great future…
    Rodney Marinkovic Home of Qantasville I. Kings Park Sydney.

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