Western Sydney International Airport (WSI) has released its long-awaited flight path information ahead of the airport’s opening in 2026, causing residents in the surrounding area to be concerned by the expected noise levels, and a local Council to call for further consultation on related decisions.
Blacktown City Council Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM, said Council holds significant concerns for the impact of flight paths on residents in the City.
“The protection of residents from noise is a concern I take very seriously. This is particularly significant, given that Western Sydney Airport will operate without a night time curfew on flight movements,” Mayor Bleasdale said.
“Council has been promised an official briefing and we will seek to fully understand the impact on the City of Blacktown and its 415,000 residents.
“I am concerned that the residents of Blacktown City will only be offered one public consultation meeting to allow them to engage with the process of determining flight paths.
“There must be enough consultation to allow residents to fully understand the negative impacts of aircraft noise on them and to understand the mitigations the Government proposes.
“Council remains concerned that, as the airport grows, so will the adverse impacts, from which our residents must be protected.”
In an interview on ABC TV on 27 June, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said the first thing that has to be considered when deciding flight paths is safety.
“Obviously, flights have to be able to operate safely, people expect that when they get on a plane in this country that they will be kept safe. International visitors expect the same. So safety has to be the first consideration,” Ms King said.
“Then we’re particularly trying to minimise the amount of noise over residential areas as well as trying to keep the noise out of those late nights as much as we possibly could, bearing in mind this is a fairly constrained space, given that there are already existing flight paths that are already coming through that area.”
Ms King said that as the airport continues to grow over the coming years, it will be upon local and state planning ministers to ensure that buffers and mitigation efforts are put in place to avoid long-term noise issues for the area.
“But our job now is to try and make sure, as we go forward with these flight paths, as we get towards the opening of this airport in 2026, we do the best job we possibly can to lower the impact on people,” Ms King said.
“Obviously, the impact is going to be louder or stronger for people who are closer to the runway and we will work through with each of those residents as we go forward in the environmental impact statement process for this airport.”
Ms King noted that aircraft have gotten quieter over time as engine technology advances, and will continue to do so.
“But these flight paths have been designed with the information we know today. If there’s a need for future changes that will be a matter for future design principles,“ Ms King said.
“This is about looking at the opening in 2026, the runway as it is currently configured, and making sure that those flight paths really do minimise the impacts on residents as much as we possibly can.”