Sydney Airport Curfew


Sydney Airport is located near the center of the city and therefore, the airport is surrounded by suburbs and the flight paths are over heavily populated areas. Hence, this airport needs to be constrained by a curfew to allow residents respite and time to sleep. International studies have proven that aircraft noise is detrimental to health especially night time noise. 
 
The Sydney Airport curfew is from 11 pm to 6 am on the following day with a shoulder period for international flights from 5 - 6 am and 11 pm - midnight.  Allowable flights during the curfew are the arrival and departure of freight planes, private business jets and medical emergencies. There are up to 35 weekly international arrivals during the morning curfew shoulder period with a legislated requirement that all arrivals must use the main runway (34L) – approaching the airport over water from the south. 

The approval of the Sydney Airport shoulder period was agreed to years ago when councils and residents were promised it would be only temporary because another airport was to be built at Badgerys Creek, and that it would prevent the need for the building of a third runway.  Later the third runway was build and the "temporary" promise forgotten.

The Sydney Airport Curfew Act (1995) never intended Sydney Airport to be a 24 hour airport but inclusion of the shoulder period has eroded resident's noise protection.  Section 17 of the act removes the curfew flights excepting medical emergencies from Sydney Airport with these flights being handled by the Badgerys Creek airport when it becomes operational.  This leaves the noisy international flights within the Sydney Airport shoulder period.

The 2015 Changes
 
The Abbott government enacted changes to the Curfew via the Sydney Airport Curfew (Curfew Aircraft) Instrument 2015 effective from 13 February, 2015 which whilst talking tough of protecting communities from noise has opened up the curfew for limited business and private charters in small jets.  It has included a Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights to justify it’s expansion of allowable curfew flights.
 
Other changes is the updated list of the types of “new, quieter and more efficient jet aircraft” compliant with the revised and more tougher 2006 International Civil Aviation Organization noise levels allowable during the curfew.  It also allows the grandfathering of the current noisier planes until December, 2022 which increases the overall noise footprint.
 
Our submission against these changes were to:
1. NO “private and business charters”  as the right of Sydney residents to a decent night’s sleep outweighs the privilege of allowing commercial flights through the curfew, and
2. phase out the shoulder period of international arrivals from 5 to 6 am operating over Botany Bay, this was only introduced in 1988 after a promise (later broken) not to build a third runway, and
3. stop the ground running and testing of engines during the curfew period.
 
References:
Federal Government legislation: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C2004A04984

Federal Government legislation: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2015L00142

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Curfew at Sydney Airport:  http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/aviation/environmental/curfews/SydneyAirport/SydneyCurfewBrief.aspx
 
Sydney Morning Herald: www.smh.com.au/nsw/winter-means-more-early-morning-wakeups-for-sydney-airport-neighbours-20150516-gh2gsq.html


 
 
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