Airport noise report released

sepi 14 August 2009 25

Air Services Australia has released their quarterly report into air traffic in Canberra.

Of interest this month is the new noise monitor in Hackett.

As part of their campaign to run freight planes every 2 minutes overnight in Canberra the airport has consistently stated in the media and in official submissions that no residents in Canberra will get aircraft noise of over 65decibells (p80, 2009 preliminary Draft Master Plan).

However the ASA report shows the new Hackett noise monitor has recorded aircraft noise of 70DB as a daily event in Hackett. Measurement technicalities have seen the airport explain 70% of these away as community noise. EVen that complicated equation still leaves a 70DB noise occurring every second day in Hackett, under current flight conditions.

Given that 45DB is the noise level accepted as waking people up at night, regular 70DB noise levels do not bode well for regular overnight flights.

And for those who feel that they are well away from the flightpath, the diagram of flight directions on page 20 of the report is of interest. As the airport gets busier, the flightpath expands to fit in more planes, and to cover more of Canberra.

So the issue of noise and nightflights is relevant to many of us. The ACT government is strangely silent on the issue of overnight flight noise.

Federal Minister Anthony Albanese is to approve or reject the airport’s masterplan on August 28. This plan details their future ambitions to run freight planes over Canberra at night, to relieve Sydney of aircraft noise. Given that Minister Albanese’s seat of Marrickville is subject to a lot of aircraft noise, he may welcome the chance to send some of it our way.

The Air Services report clearly makes a lie of the airport’s claim that no residents will hear planes of over 65DB. But it remains to be seen whether any of the politicians care about our sleep – either locally or Federally.

Further info is at:


What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
25 Responses to Airport noise report released
lod lod 1:42 pm 16 Aug 09

I like this report and reading it they seem to be well aware of the controversy that it was going to create yet they published it anyway.

The detail of how the noise measurement is done is in appendix A where they state that they capture high noise levels as noise events and then attempt to match it to aircraft departures to differentiate valid aircraft noise from noisy kids. You could also estimate the probability of a matching event also being a kid event based on the number of kid events. Doing this analysis they came up with one 70dB aircraft noise problem every two days.

You can see this visually in the daily plot on page 39. The peak of the noise events is periodic and roughly corresponds with the weekend. For example the biggest peak is the 22nd of February, a Sunday. The biggest peaks to the left and right are the 15th (Sunday) and 1st of March (Sunday).

I’m sure there are some noise issues in Hackett and having cargo 747s flying at 3am may be a problem but it looks like Airservices is well aware of what is going on and the potential affects of more flights. Once they have a solid grasp on the noise problem there would also be mitigation measures they could introduce such as noise barriers or redirecting more flights in different directions, like over Queanbeyan 😉

Anna Key Anna Key 7:07 am 16 Aug 09

There’s some bizarre looking departure tracks in the diagrams. Does it include the RAAF planes as well. Similarly, an interesting discussion on the need for a curfew in Adelaide.,1,25871880-5006301,00.html

bd84 bd84 9:54 pm 15 Aug 09

Judging by the report, Hackett residents have little to whinge about as all the readings are below the acceptable thresholds, with an average of 1 event over 70DB per day. Even then, Airservices include a warning that the general background noise is quite loud and is likely influencing the readings.

Hackett is about 1/30 of the number of events in Jerrabomberra, an excellent reason as to why residential areas shouldn’t be built under a flight path.

sepi sepi 9:36 pm 15 Aug 09

OK, there is a reference to flights every 3 minutes, even overnight in the stateline piece, near the end of the transcript. I knew i had read it only yesterday.

The quote is by Tim Overall, QBN mayor, commenting on the airport’s draft masterplan for the future:

TIM OVERALL: This master plan for the airport projects flight movements for 25 years. And it’s quite often said by members of the community that their forecasts are wildly exaggerated. They’re projecting on a mid case scenario there will be a flight every three minutes 30 seconds, 24 hours a day, 365 day s a year. Now, that takes into account the proposed establishment of a freight hub, that’s a major concern, and this council’s on record as supporting a curfew, a night curfew for flight movements from 11 PM to 6 AM, 365 days a year.

Bundybear Bundybear 6:08 pm 15 Aug 09

I qualified as an aircraft mechanic a long time ago and I love most things aircraft. I live directly under the Careflight helicopter flight path, and with my two year old grandson love to go out and watch the “copter, poppy” when it flies over. I have no problem with it’s occassional intrusion into our sleep when it is called to assist someone. We also love to watch the occasional military air manouverings that occur, and the odd flight that is close enough to give us a good roar as it goes past is all part of the fun.
I would not be at all pleased , however, if I was subjected to routine and regular excessive noise levels being IMPOSED upon me in an area I had chosen to live in good faith based on the prevailing conditions at time of purchase. Even less so if the purpose of this imposition was to enable residents in another state to sleep better at night.
I’m with you Sepi, time for a curfew.

sepi sepi 5:49 pm 15 Aug 09

From my reading of the report it seems that the 70DB noise readings relate to a circular area of 4.5 km, with it’s centre at the edge of Hackett (p11). But I admit to finding the report confusing.

The argument that ‘the airport was there first’ is not true for all of noise affected Canberra – and in any case is no reason not to have a night curfew. They have curfews in other cities built up near airports.

caf caf 5:31 pm 15 Aug 09

Addison: All of NSW? No, just those residents of Jerrabomberra with an overdeveloped entitlement complex.

sepi sepi 5:01 pm 15 Aug 09

90Db is pretty loud – I would wake up. Music is capped at 45DB after 11pm in urban areas, to allow people to sleep.

Also 90DB at 1m away from a noisy car is a lot less inside your house.

That is the problem with aircraft noise – unlike noisy motorbikes and lawnmowers etc, instead of disturbing a few houses, loud flights disturb several suburbs all at once.

And this isn’t just about Tralee – the airport is keen to run freight night flights regardless of whether Tralee goes ahead.

Now is the time to introduce a curfew, before they have built up business in night flights.

harvyk1 harvyk1 4:56 pm 15 Aug 09

Every 2 minutes, whilst it wouldn’t quite put us into the top 30 list of worlds busiest airports it’s push us right up there, and almost certainly the busiest in Australia. – I somewhat doubt that will happen.

What we will more than likely see is more larger freighter aircraft (eg A330’s, A340’s, B777, B747) etc which we don’t currently see here. Admittedly each type is larger than the B767 (the largest scheduled aircraft which fly’s to CBR), and they are not quite things. However it once again draws back to the point that in almost all cases, the airport was there first, and airports have never been known for being quite neighbours

Mr Waffle Mr Waffle 3:44 pm 15 Aug 09

Given that 45DB is the noise level accepted as waking people up at night, regular 70DB noise levels do not bode well for regular overnight flights.

Where is that 70dB recorded from? IIRC, the legal limit for cars is 90dB @ 1 metre, and I certainly don’t wake up when a (road legal) car drives past at night…

Addison Addison 2:43 pm 15 Aug 09

don’t like the idea of tralee? thank your government for pissing off NSW by building a prison right on their doorstep.

sleep tight!

caf caf 1:31 pm 15 Aug 09

It doesn’t take much thought to realise that 140 planes landing every night is completely outside the bounds of credibility.

In any case – the main issue is the need for a curfew preventing any flights between 11pm and 6am – such as the residents of Sydney have to protect their sleep. Surely we deserve the same protection.

…which is a perfectly fine argument on its own, which is why it’s a pity that you felt the need to bolster it with scared-up figures.

sepi sepi 1:11 pm 15 Aug 09


Caf – they plan to completely rebuild their terminals to make room for more planes.

Stephen Byron: “So you will see a huge aviation activity at Canberra Airport. We certainly hope that within the next five years that we’ll be moving ahead with the development of a whole new terminal and everything you see in the terminal precinct will be rebuilt.”

sepi sepi 12:43 pm 15 Aug 09

pps – all I can find right now is a reference to 15 flights between 11pm and 6am. The flights every 3 minutes must be increased daytime flights.

In any case – the main issue is the need for a curfew preventing any flights between 11pm and 6am – such as the residents of Sydney have to protect their sleep. Surely we deserve the same protection.

sepi sepi 12:35 pm 15 Aug 09

ps The plan for freight planes every 3 minutes overnight has been widely reported over a long period. Unfortunately the CT now won’t let me search beyond the last few days, so I can’t link to an online source.

sepi sepi 12:33 pm 15 Aug 09

Sorry – that is an error. The airport aims for planes every 3 minutes overnight, not every 2 minutes. Not that I imagine I will get a lot of extra sleep with those 3 minute breaks between flights, as opposed to 2 minutes.

Ivan76 Ivan76 11:13 am 15 Aug 09

It’s Airservices Australia not Air services.

housebound housebound 8:42 pm 14 Aug 09

Gotta love that map on page 20 – it makes Belconnen and Tuggeranong look relatively peaceful. It also looks like someone set fire to the airport. Poetic licence?

caf caf 7:01 pm 14 Aug 09

…run freight planes every 2 minutes overnight in Canberra…

Suuuure… and where will they be parking these 30 aircraft per hour while they unload/load them? It’d get jolly crowded real fast on that little piece of tarmac!

Why must people ruin perfectly good arguments by severely overegging them?

Digga Digga 6:23 pm 14 Aug 09

Wonderful. As predicted, all along and even before Tralee gets developed causing even more diversion of flight paths.

How nice, to share some of the aircraft load with Canberra “to relieve Sydney of aircraft noise.” I hope my friends near the airport in Sydney are glad we’ll be doing our bit to help alleviate them. I moved from East Ryde to Canberra because I’d had enough of not being able to chat outside our home in the evenings due to the low-flying approaches to Sydney airport.

Guess I’ll move again. Aircraft noise, gas-fired power stations. What next to come our way in Southern Canberra?

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site