Lifting airport curfew would devastate Inner West

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has today attended the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into the operation of Sydney Airport in person to insist that lifting the curfew for Sydney Airport and increasing the cap on aircraft movements would expose Inner West residents to longer hours of more intense aircraft noise.

Mayor Byrne said that adopting the changes would result in insufferable living conditions for residents in the Inner West, and other flight path areas.

The changes would mean that more residents would be forced to live with an Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) of 20 contour or greater – considered unacceptable for residential impacts.

“Over 100,000 residents in the Inner West are already badly affected by aircraft noise, and suffering from serious noise impacts,” he said.

“Reducing or removing the curfew and cap for the Airport would have devastating effects for the Inner West. Resident’s quality of life, health and wellbeing would be at risk, and property values would drop if the cap or curfew are lifted.”

“We’re used to living with aircraft noise and appreciate the benefits of having Sydney airport nearby. However the compact between the airport and inner west community relies on the cap and curfew staying in place.

The Draft Report itself negates any need for extended hours or caps, stating that:

“Sydney Airport continues to operate efficiently. Its aeronautical operating costs per passenger are the lowest of the monitored airports, and it has very low whole of airport operating costs when compared to most overseas airports.

“The capacity of Sydney Airport is capped at 80 movements per 15-minute rolling hour (in non-curfew periods) but it rarely reaches this cap.….The average number of movements rarely exceeds 70 per hour, even in peak periods.”

“Our objective to the lifting of the curfew and cap is reinforced by the Productivity Commission’s admission that Sydney Airport is already operating efficiently and profitably,” said Byrne.

Sydney Airport Corporation Master Plan, prepared in 2018, confirms that there is no need to alter the way the airport currently operates.

“Sydney Airport’s Draft Master Plan (2039) guarantees that they will stick to the existing curfew and aircraft movement cap,” said Byrne.

“This indicates that the operator believes that Sydney Airport operates efficiently with the existing curfew and cap.

“It’s clear that these proposed changes would provide only limited economic benefit to the Airport. Worse, it could be the start of a slippery slope towards unrestricted airport operation. The existing curfew and cap were hard-won by the Inner West Community, over two decades ago, and we will fight to see it preserved.”

For media enquiries, please contact Kate Walsh on 9392 5685 or                           

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Page last updated: 28 Mar 2019