Sydney Airport has received approval for 13 Qantas flights to land in the sensitive pre-curfew time of between 5am and 6am, this month and next. From 22 June, Qantas will be allowed three extra landings per week.
The flights are from Vancouver and the time change is necessary because Vancouver airport is undergoing nocturnal runway works, compelling Qantas to depart two hours ahead of its regular time slot.
The new flights will increase Sydney Airport aircraft movements in the sensitive 5-6am pre-curfew timeslot from 21 to 24 movements a week.
In agreeing with Sydney Airport to the extra flights last month, federal Transport Minister Warren Truss said only 13 extra pre-curfew flights would be allowed, all between 22 June and 20 July 2015, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported.
Sydney Airport has long been a highly volatile issue for politicians. On one hand, airlines, business, transport and tourism lobbyists push for more flights and less curfew. On the other, residents are fed up with aircraft noise and are prepared to vote on the matter.
Modern aircraft are far quieter than in decades past, but residents are not always convinced.
The Curfew Act 1995 forbids passenger jets from landing or taking off at the airport during curfew hours (11pm and 6am) unless granted permission to land in the shoulder period of 5am to 6am. The ban has never applied to all aircraft, with many private and small jets allowed use the airport between 11pm and 6am.
During Australian winter months, three international airlines (Qantas, British Airways and Singapore Airlines) are allowed to land passenger jets every day between 5am and 6am.
That dispensation is due to the northern hemisphere summer and curfews at airports including Heathrow.
Written by Peter Needham