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Noise sharing improvements

The Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Development, Mark Vaile, today reaffirmed his support for the Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP) and said Sydney residents should notice further improvement in the way aircraft noise is shared across the city from the week ending January 23rd.

"I want to ensure that people experiencing noise during peak periods are given respite at each available opportunity." Mr Vaile said.

The changes reflect recognition that seasonal weather conditions and resulting northerly wind directions have limited the benefits of those elements of LTOP put in use so far.

Accordingly, Mr Vaile said Airservices has agreed to implement revised procedures that will:

. ensure that, weather permitting, noise sharing modes based on the use of all three runways will be used irrespective of forecast traffic demand during the periods of 6 to 7am, 11am to 3pm and 8pm to the curfew;

. remove the 'two hour rule' which will provide more flexibility to change between modes for noise sharing purposes;

. revert to 'standard crosswind and downwind criteria' (25 and 5 knots respectively) for all runways to increase the availability of the east west runway; and

. introduce for a trial period commencing in early February, steeper take-offs (ICAOA procedures) to the north from the third runway, already used by Qantas and Ansett for departures to the north from the main runway.

Mr Vaile said Airservices will also discuss with industry greater use of simultaneous opposite directions use of the parallel runways during light and variable winds which would have the effect of directing the majority of arriving and departing traffic over the water during these times.

"We want aircraft to fly over water rather than houses whenever possible. We can't take aircraft noise away from Sydney altogether - but we can and are making absolutely sure it's managed sensibly and fairly." Mr Vaile said.

The Minister said he was also very pleased to note that Airservices has nominated a senior position in Air Traffic Control with the prime mandate of harnessing the noise sharing modes where possible. "We've had the plan, now we have the means to make sure all noise-sharing modes are maximised on an hourly and daily basis." Mr Vaile said.

In addition, Mr Vaile said that additional noise sharing capability would be achieved by using the east west runway more effectively. The Federal Airports Corporation is currently examining the relocation of the eastern landing threshold on the east west runway as a means of increasing the runway's available length.

Airservices Australia is investigating the installation of an instrument landing system on the east west runway to improve its availability and safety.

"We can't control the weather and we're not about to turn away aircraft that help generate billions of dollars for Sydney and tens of thousands of jobs - but we are ensuring the negative that goes with Kingsford Smith Airport - and that's noise - is shared more fairly." Mr Vaile said.

Mr Vaile, who toured the Badgerys Creek site yesterday, also urged all residents of the Sydney region to get behind Federal Government plans to build a second Sydney airport as a visionary means of coping with future air traffic demand.

Mr Vaile said that until a second airport was built there would be no alternative to the present absolute dependency on Kingsford Smith Airport as the region's primary transport hub and all the noise that brings with it.

Media Inquiries: Peter Cassuben, 0417 980 009