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Curfew fuss: BNE airport noise distresses three people

October 25, 2013 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A curfew at Brisbane Airport would hurt international tourism to Queensland, damage the airport’s standing as a freight hub and impede fly-in/fly-out operations conducted to serve the state’s resources industry.

That’s the feeling of travel industry and airport representatives, who warn that operations at Brisbane must remain 24 hours. An inquiry into the airport’s 24-hour operation is underway after more than 5000 aircraft noise complaints were received in a single year – but it turns out that most of  those complaints came from just three people.

A committee from the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Transport is currently deciding whether to recommend a curfew at the airport. Brisbane Airport is a round-the-clock operation, whereas airports in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Adelaide have curfews from 11pm to 6am.

While there have been complaints about aircraft noise, Brisbane Airport’s operators point out that over 60% of the 5024 aircraft noise complaints EGT_Artical Banner A 250x250received in the 12 months to June 2013 were made by three people.

In a draft submission, industry lobby group Tourism and Transport Forum points out that a curfew could cost Brisbane Airport its role as a diversion destination for flights that cannot make it to Sydney, Newcastle or the Gold Coast, because of curfws or poor weather at those airports.

“A curfew would prevent Brisbane Airport from accommodating diverted flights overnight,” the group said.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has made a detailed a submission to the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Transport in response to the Discussion Paper, called “Future Brisbane Airport Operations: A Review of the Need for a Curfew at Brisbane Airport”.

A recent Deloitte Access Economics study commissioned by BAC highlighted that by

2033-34, a 24/7 Brisbane Airport will generate an annual benefit of:

  • AUD 13.4 billion in direct and indirect economic contribution to the Australian economy
  • AUD 7.6 billion in tourism activity
  • More than 88,000 jobs Australia wide. 

A curfew imposed at Brisbane Airport would impact international and domestic flights, tourism, the economy, jobs, businesses, air freight and even the community, BAC says.

“Estimates suggest that 216,000 international passenger movements would be lost

each year if a curfew were imposed on Brisbane Airport. Of these, 111,000 would be

international visitors to Australia. Additionally, 112,000 domestic passengers would be lost each year if a curfew was imposed on Brisbane Airport.

“Brisbane Airport’s 24-hour operations are vital to the growth of Brisbane and Queensland. A curfew-free capital city airport is a powerful attraction for many businesses looking to invest in Queensland. In addition, 24/7 operations give the airport the flexibility to maintain services and attract additional flights, services and investment.”

According to BAC, recent public opinion research showed that most local and regional respondents agreed that a curfew would have a negative impact on the Queensland economy.

“As a result, a substantial majority of respondents do not support a curfew on Brisbane Airport. In addition, aircraft noise complaints decreased during the 2013 financial year, with Airservices Australia recording 5024 aircraft noise complaints from 469 people in the 12 months to June 2013. Of this total, 3090 complaints were made by just three people.

“During the same period, Brisbane Airport recorded more than 220,000 aircraft

movements, carrying 21.6 million passengers. Most noise complaints tend to be received between 6pm and 9pm, and between 6am and 8am. Imposing a curfew at Brisbane Airport could compress early morning and late evening flights into these most noise sensitive hours, exacerbating noise impacts and increasing complaints.”

BAC says that one of the key planning strengths of the Brisbane Airport is its extensive natural and appropriate land-use zoned buffer from residential areas.

“In fact, Brisbane Airport has the largest buffer zones from surrounding communities of any capital city airport in Australia. Importantly, the selection and agreement by all

levels of government of the Brisbane Airport site many decades ago was predicated on its capacity to support a parallel runway system with at least a six kilometre buffer from the end of the centreline of either runway.

“Brisbane’s New Parallel Runway is expected to be in operation in 2020 and will significantly reduce the number of aircraft flying over residential areas in noise sensitive periods, while boosting capacity for Queensland.”

Written by : Peter Needham

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