The Gap Spotlights Brisbane Flight Path Changes and Noise Action Plan

To address the escalating issue of aircraft noise, a long-abandoned flight path plan for Brisbane Airport has resurfaced with a renewed proposal for significant changes. Here’s how it will impact residents of The Gap. 

The plan, dropped over two decades ago, has been revamped to include a controversial suggestion of round-the-clock simultaneous takeoffs and landings from both runways at the airport. The proposed changes were unveiled by Airservices Australia (ASA), a federal aviation agency, as part of a new Noise Action Plan. 

As this will be a major change, various community consultations across Brisbane are underway until 10 September 2023. In The Gap, the consultation is scheduled for 23 August 2033 at St Marks Church Hall along Waterworks Rd. 

ASA has encouraged public participation in these discussions and has assured that a range of experts will be present to address questions and concerns. The consultation process is part of ASA’s efforts to incorporate community feedback into its decision-making process. 

Residents may also give their feedback online through the ASA site.

New Noise Action Plan

One of the most striking alterations to the new Noise Action Plan entails permitting 24-hour simultaneous takeoffs and landings from the airport’s two runways. This adjustment, known as Simultaneous Opposite Direction Runway Operations (SODPROPS), would potentially direct more aircraft over Moreton Bay.

Since the inauguration of the second runway in July 2020, ASA had initially claimed that SODPROPS could be safely executed only during nighttime hours when flight volume was lower. However, the plan now envisions extending this practice throughout the day, contingent on wind patterns, weather conditions, and air traffic volume aligning favourably.

Photo Credit: Airservice Australia

The resurgence of the flight path plan comes after mounting complaints from residents about increased aircraft noise, even during lockdown periods. The controversial decision to open the second runway led to noise-related grievances, prompting ASA to address the matter through community feedback and consultation.

Marcus Foth, spokesperson for the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance (BFPCA), expressed both appreciation and reservation regarding the proposal’s expansion. He welcomed the 24-hour implementation of SODPROPS but criticized ASA for not implementing such measures sooner. 

Foth claimed that the aviation agency has complicated the issue by inundating the public with technical jargon, impeding informed public engagement.

ASA’s proposal also includes exploring alternative flight path options, to be developed over the following two years, and aimed at sharing the noise burden more evenly across the city. These options, ASA asserts, will not increase the airport’s capacity but will offer respite for affected areas.

The outcome of the consultation and the subsequent revisions to the Noise Action Plan will likely shape the future of Brisbane’s flight paths and determine whether these changes will successfully alleviate the escalating concerns of affected residents.

Published 8-Aug-2023