Airport future.

johnboy 3 December 2008 30

Yesterday the Department of Infrastructure (what used to be Transport) released an aviation green paper.

The exec summary is the best bit to read if you’re short on time but in particular section 8, which I’ve reproduced below.

They plan to stop Canberra Airport developing land willy nilly without reference to local planning controls.

But on the upside for the darkness on the edge of town, the race is now well and truly on to be Sydney’s second airport. This is the other shoe dropping after the very fast train was revived.

Older readers will recall this was all stuff which consumed the Hawke/Keating years. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

    8. Airport investment – planning for responsible growth

    Australia’s major airports are our economic and social gateways to the world. Since privatisation there has been significantly increased investment in airports, with over $2.2 billion invested in new terminals, runways and other infrastructure at the leased federal airports. Further investment in excess of $4 billion is scheduled in the near future. However, concerns have grown about the impacts of airport development on surrounding communities. With the growth of Australian cities, more residents are affected by airport operations.

    The Government recognises the importance of continued investment in aeronautical infrastructure at airports, and is committed to ensuring infrastructure development is responsible. The Government will ensure planning for leased federal airport sites is more integrated with planning for the surrounding areas, and the interests of communities are given proper consideration in planning and development processes.

    There is no intention to over-regulate, or to make the planning and approval process so cumbersome as to deter investment. A coordinated approach to planning brings benefits for both the airport and the community.

    Proposals for non-aeronautical development will be closely scrutinised, recognising concerns that substantial commercial developments on airport land can undermine plans for the development and amenity of surrounding communities.

    Airport sites are scarce and valuable. The Government will make sure planning of the airport site is consistent with its long-term development as an airport, and that planning supports the optimal mix of aeronautical uses.

    The encroachment of city development around airports, particularly the secondary airports at capital cities, has increased the pressure for airport land to be used for other purposes with potentially higher commercial returns. The Government respects the right of the airport operators to a reasonable return on capital invested, but will not support proposals for the site to be used for commercial purposes which prevent the site from reaching its full potential as an airport.

    The Government will also ensure airport infrastructure needs are met well into the future.

    The pressure on Sydney Airport and the demand for aviation capacity in the greater Sydney region is an ongoing cause for concern. Sydney Airport is approaching capacity and there is broad community support for the maintenance of a legislated curfew and cap on movements at Sydney Airport.

    The Government is committed to ensuring future economic activity and growth in the Sydney region is not constrained by the capacity limitations of the Sydney Airport site.

    Sydney Airport Corporation Limited has begun its five-yearly revision of its Airport Master Plan.

    The plan, which sets out the forecast of activity and development at the airport for the next twenty years, will be finalised following consultation with the community, industry stakeholders and government agencies over the coming months.

    This Master Plan process will provide further information about the future patterns of traffic at Sydney Airport and the implications of continued growth for the airport, operators and the community.

    Following the completion of the Sydney Airport Master Plan in 2009, the Government proposes to begin a process to identify additional capacity for the Sydney region, consistent with Government policy of support for a second airport for Sydney.

    The construction of an airport at Badgerys Creek is no longer an option.

    A new level of cooperation is required between federal, state and local government on airport planning and development, with clear consultation and decision-making processes. For airport operators, it is essential that local planning schemes support the development of the airport and prevent development which would impact on current and future operations. In turn, planning authorities are seeking more effective input to airport development processes. The Government proposes to work with state governments to refine proposals for effective working arrangements, including the key initiatives outlined below:

    • establishment of Airport Planning Advisory Panels, drawn from industry, community and government, for each of the major airports, to provide independent expert analysis and advice to the Minister;
    • examining the impact of airport development on surrounding transport and community infrastructure and how the leased federal airports might contribute to this infrastructure;
    • strengthening of the airport Master Planning process to provide greater transparency and certainty about future land uses at the airports;
    • providing a power for the Minister to call for additional detail in precinct plans for areas which have been proposed for non-aeronautical development;
    • a review of triggers for the airport major development process to ensure those developments of most interest to the community are subject to proper consultation;
    • establishment of community consultation groups at each airport to foster effective community engagement in airport planning issues; and
    • establishment of a clear policy on the definition of public safety zone areas around airports, which can be taken into account in local planning.

    Airports are critical for isolated communities. The Government will provide support for the upgrade of aerodromes to improve safe access to essential air services in remote parts of Australia through the Remote Aerodrome Safety Program.

    Our aviation infrastructure will no longer be viewed in isolation from national infrastructure planning.

    The Government will work closely with Infrastructure Australia to ensure the development of major airports is considered as part of Australia’s broader infrastructure strategy.


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caf caf 2:21 pm 04 Dec 08

ant: The maps in that report show all traffic – you can see Sydney-Melbourne traffic cutting across the bottom right hand corner.

sepi sepi 1:47 pm 04 Dec 08

The noise in Braddon is a fair bit less than in Hackett and Watson. Braddon will get more flightpaths overhead tho as the airport gets busier.

House insulation may be improving (this is the line they are running about Tralee), but what if someone wants to open their windows on a hot night?

And planes may be getting quieter, but freight planes are usually noisy old things – these are the ones T Snow is trying to get going thru the night.

deye deye 2:01 am 04 Dec 08

Mary Whitehouse said :

Rioter 1: As someone who used to work in the infrastructure and construction sector, take it from me: the VFT was only ever a massive property development scam by the proponents. They always expected the feds to tip in most of the money. Nation building infrastructure it ain’t.

Rioter 2: If it was done correctly it would be.

Me: How? Canberra is not an economic centre. Why would you invest billions upon billions on a rail line to service it? Nothing wrong with VFTs, but this is ACT Light Rail levels of delusion.

Canberra – Sydney would be just one link in the chain, however if I remember the old High Speed rail report correctly it’s the one most likely to be profitable first – hence it being the first to be built.

If it was me I would have smaller trains running every 15 minutes 24 hours a day with 1.5 hours max travel time between Sydney Central and Canberra. Have larger trains at peak hours. Have stops at various regional hubs along the way and have the towns surrounding those serviced by buses. You don’t want to stop at every single town on the track as it would slow the trip too much. Site the hubs so that any town on the track is no more than 15 – 20 minutes drive to the closest one and you should be right.

You would also need to keep the cost of the ticket low.

1.5 hours each way opens up the possibility of commuting from one end to the other for work, or from any location to either end along the track. Heck it would even allow you to go to Sydney for a night out and still make it home to your own bed.

The problem would be where in Canberra to site the station, you would want it close to Civic and integrated to local transport, but getting in that far would be a problem. You would also need a station at the airport, but not have it as the main terminus at this end as the airport is congested enough as is and it’s too far from Civic to be handy for travel.

A 1.5 hour trip to central would make it similar to or less than the amount of time taken to currently go to the airport, catch a plane, get off the plane and get to Sydney CBD (or vice versa) for business meetings.

Canberra may not be an economic powerhouse but it is a nicer place to live than Sydney (IMO) having a very fast train would allow you to still enjoy the things in Sydney that you can’t get here, but live in a nice place.

On the other hand there are those who would prefer to live in Sydney, for them they can live there and work here.

For those who would like to live in the country but can’t because of work, well all they have to do is pick a place anywhere along the track and they can live that dream while doing a decent job.

There are always articles about skills shortages in Canberra and the difficulty in getting people to move to a “country hick” town to do that work, well with this they wouldn’t need to, they can live in Sydney and commute here for work. It would make it easier for those high paid consultants to get here as well, yet still be able to make it home each night for dinner, much cheaper than having to foot the hotel bill for them to be here for the week. Same for Parliamentary sitting weeks, how many people come to town for those that could easily turn it into a day trip instead.

Then you can go into potential other spin offs. You’re going to be doing some considerable earth works (depending on design chosen) why not lay some rather fat optic fibre cables at the same time.

deye deye 1:34 am 04 Dec 08

Gungahlin Al said :

Or just don’t put residential near the airport and flightpaths in the first place.

That too. I have no sympathy for people who choose to buy near a flightpath. I am only interested in protecting the amenity of Canberra residents living everywhere else in the town. As a former rep of an electorate with a key regional airport, and thanks to old court decisions, exactly the same sorts of building under flightpath issues, Jerra was one of the first places crossed off my list of places to buy when we moved back to Canberra.

Deye your two sentences do not logically link. Don’t fall for the airport spin. That’s what Kate Lundy has done, and it seems to be what Albanese has done. The two issues are only a little related. The curfew though is about far more of Canberra.

A freight hub will negatively affect maybe 40% of all Canberra residents – far more than those near flightpaths. I am amazed that some people cannot conceive of this. Or perhaps you live in Weston or Dunlop?

I live in Braddon, the flight path for light aircraft runs straight over my unit. I regularly hear the larger aircraft taking off and landing. I would be happy for them to run 24 hours a day. If I was in charge there would definitely not be a Tralee, nor a Jerra (that horse bolted though). If you are going to build anything near an airport make it industrial or a business park and ensure the buildings are soundproofed correctly.

It happens at far too many airports, people are happy to have it there, then they start building houses near it and then suddenly they aren’t happy any more. So they move the airport and start the process over again.

Stiff shit is what I say, you knew the airport was there and built there anyway.

The airports are going to get busier, but aircraft are also going to get quieter as technology improves, the same goes for soundproofing a home.

ant ant 10:19 pm 03 Dec 08

Gungahlin Al said :

Anything in our airspace I believe Ant up to a point. No noise from those passing over making vapour trails… 🙂
Don’t know that hill.

It’s where they’re selling massively expensive lifestyle blocks, for one thing. Look east of Canberra, over and beyond Qbn, and it’s the biggest hill you can see.

Mary Whitehouse Mary Whitehouse 8:54 pm 03 Dec 08

Rioter 1: As someone who used to work in the infrastructure and construction sector, take it from me: the VFT was only ever a massive property development scam by the proponents. They always expected the feds to tip in most of the money. Nation building infrastructure it ain’t.

Rioter 2: If it was done correctly it would be.

Me: How? Canberra is not an economic centre. Why would you invest billions upon billions on a rail line to service it? Nothing wrong with VFTs, but this is ACT Light Rail levels of delusion.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 4:26 pm 03 Dec 08

Anything in our airspace I believe Ant up to a point. No noise from those passing over making vapour trails… 🙂
Don’t know that hill.

ant ant 4:02 pm 03 Dec 08

Al, does this tracking thing show the paths taken to the east of Canberra also? There’s been a steady increase in planes coming over… they use Taliesin Hill as a turn point. More coming over in the pre-dawn hours, too.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 3:57 pm 03 Dec 08

Oh and page 22 shows an interesting picture of just how much the northern suburbs are overflown by jet departures – which is why it’s an issue to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Even Jon Stanhope commented to us on the noise when walking his dogs up around Mulligans Flat.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 3:55 pm 03 Dec 08

You can see these RNP flight tracks in the ASA reports here. They are the dog legs in the map on page 16.

The north one goes around an 800m mountain.

The south one came about because I suggested at a meeting with the airport that they could use RNP in the same way to push those southern arrivals further west from Jerra without significant impost.

To the airport and airlines’ credit they took it on, and now the RNP flights (only about 2.5% of arrivals so far – but all bigger aircraft) are a couple of hundred metres further away from Jerra houses. But closer to Tralee 🙂

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 3:29 pm 03 Dec 08

Air Services Australia will launch a new service Webtrack within the next 2 weeks which allows you (after a delay of 20-40 minutes) see the exact flightpath a plane took in or out of the airport, designate your home (or other location) and see the distance and altitude from you, see the noise readings at the Jerra and new Hackett noise monitoring stations as the flight passes, and more. No military or VIP flights, but everything else will be in there for your viewing pleasure.

You’ll be surprised at how closely the majority of jet flights track on there northerly departures before turning over/north of our area.

And for the growing proportion of planes that use RNP GPS-based navigation, the individual flight tracks in the reports we get from ASA are almost indistinguishable.

bugalugs bugalugs 3:24 pm 03 Dec 08

“Interesting read, thanks for putting that up. I read the long blurb about the undesirability of non-airport-related development on airport land as being squarly directed at Canberra airport. There has been little airport-type development out there since Snow bought it… they made the runway longer, and, um?

When Snow first bought the airport, the stated intention was to develop the airport as a freight hub for the region, and also to develop it as a gateway for international traffic. The proposal was to bring in international flights, espeically when Sydney was shut for curfew, process them at Canberra and then load them on the VFT. Some kind of fast rail link was integral to many of these plans.

I actually think he coudl develop the international flights thing without a train. he could land the jumbos here, process them, and they could be flying on to their destinations in smaller planes. Many destinations don’t have curfews, and new flights could be created. For those heading to Sydney, there’d be a few hours wait. Although the train would have got round the congestion at Sydney problem better.

At some point though, the property development thing took over from the aviation thing, and we’re still reeling on the effects of that. A hitherto busy road is now a blocked-up mess. A bunch of big, grand buildings flanking that funny little airport terminal.”

You would have to think ant was a public servant! From this statement it is obvious he has no business acumen

I don’t know Terry Snow froma a bar of soap but in my mind the way he is developing the airport precinct is commercially very smart.

You need other revenue stream at an airport rather than just car parking and terminal fees. H ehas got that know with a business park

He has built the freight hub terminals – it is called Brand Depot. Have you look they are basically just big warehouse with very little internal framework – a classic land bank if I have ever seen one

They were going to spend $250m upgrading the airport terminals until a little thing called the global credit crunch got in the way

If international tourists want to fly to Melbourne or Adelaide or Perth then they just take a different connecting flight in Thailand or Singapore not fly to Canberra to change planes. No to make Canberra a 2nd Sydney airport they need a transport system

sepi sepi 3:05 pm 03 Dec 08

And that expansion of the flightpaths is what has happened to Hackett too.

We used to get only tiny planes (two seater types) and helicopers etc on the flightpath above us. But now they are using the flightpath above hackett for much larger planes, much more often, and we are really noticing the increase in noise.

ant ant 2:48 pm 03 Dec 08

I think many people have bought the airport’s line, and imagine there is one flightpath. There is not.

Potentially, every bit of airspace is a flightpath. Things like air traffic, wind direction and what the wind is doing, and local events all change where planes will fly. Anyone who flies a lot knows this; you seldom follow the same way in, or out.

Who has been in a “holding pattern” over sydney, and zig-zagged all over the place? Everywhere is a flight path.

H1NG0 H1NG0 2:21 pm 03 Dec 08

If Canberra ever wants to be taken seriously as a Capital City, then they need a proper international airport. I can just imagine the look of the faces of visitors from overseas when they fly into our airport. They probably think they have flown into Bumblefcuk in the outback somewhere. We have customs staff who are capable of dealing with international visitors in Canberra, it makes sense on so many levels to direct flights here, especially with a VFT.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 1:53 pm 03 Dec 08

Or just don’t put residential near the airport and flightpaths in the first place.

That too. I have no sympathy for people who choose to buy near a flightpath. I am only interested in protecting the amenity of Canberra residents living everywhere else in the town. As a former rep of an electorate with a key regional airport, and thanks to old court decisions, exactly the same sorts of building under flightpath issues, Jerra was one of the first places crossed off my list of places to buy when we moved back to Canberra.

Deye your two sentences do not logically link. Don’t fall for the airport spin. That’s what Kate Lundy has done, and it seems to be what Albanese has done. The two issues are only a little related. The curfew though is about far more of Canberra.

A freight hub will negatively affect maybe 40% of all Canberra residents – far more than those near flightpaths. I am amazed that some people cannot conceive of this. Or perhaps you live in Weston or Dunlop?

p1 p1 1:51 pm 03 Dec 08

Except that Canberra and the airport have been co-located since, well, for a long time.

While I agree that it should probably have been possible to leave corridors vacant of housing suitable for flight paths, that really hasn’t happened, and only looks like getting worse.

deye deye 1:35 pm 03 Dec 08

Gungahlin Al said :

The smart thing to do is to put a curfew in now. It says “Canberra is a quiet place, but the airport is a vital economic and social driver. Therefore the correct balance is to allow full development of the airport during normal trading hours, but the assure the residents a period of respite between 11pm and 6am.”

With a curfew in place early, industry knows exactly where the goalposts are, and will invest appropriately. Early = easy. Late = hard + unfair for residents and businesses.

Or just don’t put residential near the airport and flightpaths in the first place.
A 24 hr hub would be fine.

H1NG0 H1NG0 1:27 pm 03 Dec 08

Can’t they just fly over Queanbeyan? 😛

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 1:12 pm 03 Dec 08

The statement by Albanese in today’s CT displays a profound lack of long-term vision.

“I can’t see any need for a curfew at Canberra at this stage.”

What? So you wait until businesses have invested heavily in infrastructure based on a curfew-less airport, and wait until everyone starts complaining, and THEN think about putting one in??

That is just dumb and short-sighted.

Albanese needs to recognise that we are not a traffic and industry heavy town, and therefore have very low ambient noise levels. Even a single jet flight after 11pm is sleep disturbing – even out as far as Harrison. The airport is proposing something like 20 N70 jet movements per night in the wee hours. You’ll just get back to sleep, to be woken again.

All. Night. Long. Every. Night.

The smart thing to do is to put a curfew in now. It says “Canberra is a quiet place, but the airport is a vital economic and social driver. Therefore the correct balance is to allow full development of the airport during normal trading hours, but the assure the residents a period of respite between 11pm and 6am.”

With a curfew in place early, industry knows exactly where the goalposts are, and will invest appropriately. Early = easy. Late = hard + unfair for residents and businesses.

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