Flight paths for the new multi-billion dollar Western Sydney Airport due to open in 2026 have been released, raising fears that half the city will be torn apart by ‘disparity’ between the east and west.
The $5.3 billion Western Sydney International Airport in Badgerys Creek, 28 miles from the CBD, will be the first in New South Wales to have no curfew, with flights departing and landing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The proposed flight paths, along with estimated aircraft noise effects, became available to surrounding communities on Tuesday through an online interactive Aircraft Overflight Noise Tool.
The tool allows people to type in their address to get a clear picture of preliminary flight paths, including the expected altitude at that location, daily aircraft numbers, and the predicted aircraft noise.
The $5.3 billion Western Sydney International Airport in Badgerys Creek, 28 miles from the CBD, will be the first in New South Wales with no curfew, with flights taking off and landing 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Wind conditions will ultimately determine which of the two main runway directions – known as runway 05 and runway 23 – will be used during the day and at night.
When runway 05 is used, all aircraft will arrive from the southwest and depart to the northeast, while runway 23 will see all aircraft arriving from the northeast and departing to the southwest.
A third runway direction, which can be used at night when air traffic demand is lower, is designed to minimize noise impact on western Sydney’s most densely populated areas.
The online tool shows that Erskine Park is one of the suburbs most affected by aircraft noise when runway 05 is used.
By 2033, residents of Erskine Park are predicted to experience 20 to 49 flights of more than 70 decibels over a 24-hour period, according to the ABC.
This is the level that stops conversation inside when all windows are closed.
When runway 23 is used, residents around Greendale are most affected, and are expected to experience 20 to 49 flights of over 70 decibels over 24 hours.
Supporting material explains the approaches to preliminary flight path design and noise modeling.
When Runway 05 is used, all aircraft will arrive from the southwest and depart to the northeast (pictured)
When runway 23 is used, all aircraft will arrive from the northeast and depart to the southwest (pictured)
The Federal Transportation Department will be conducting community information and feedback sessions in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains in the coming months.
Federal Transportation Secretary Catherine King said the tool provided “added transparency” to the community.
“Communities will be able to find out more information and speak to the flight path design team at these events,” Ms King said on Tuesday.
“The Albanian government is committed to balancing the needs of the community, the environment, industry and users of Sydney’s greater airspace, while ensuring safety remains a priority in the design of [the airport’s] flight paths,” she said.
Construction of the airport, due to open in 2026, is half way through (pictured)
But Peter Dollin of the community group Residents Against Western Sydney Airport (RAWSA) said he is concerned about the noise pollution.
“There is an absolute disparity going on here between East Sydney and West Sydney,” he told the ABC.
“Sydney Airport has the benefit of a curfew, there will be no curfew for this airport.”
The preliminary flight paths were developed according to airspace design principles and reflect community feedback from proof-of-concept flight paths released in 2015.
These include minimizing flights over residential areas and reducing the community impact of aircraft operations at night.
Later this year, the federal government will publish a draft environmental impact statement examining the noise, social and environmental impacts of the preliminary flight path.
This will include a draft sound insulation and real estate purchase policy.
The airport will initially have a capacity of up to 10 million passengers and approximately 81,000 flight movements per year by 2033.
Earlier this month, Qantas and Jetstar became the first airlines to sign a deal with the airport.
The tool is available at: wsiflightpaths.gov.au