Airservices manages enquiries and complaints about aircraft noise and operations through the Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS). The information below is collected by the NCIS for the purpose of complaint management, analysis of issues and identification of causal factors. For this reason we refer to ‘complainants’ and ‘issues’. Complainants are people who contacted the NCIS. While some people submitted enquiries or comments rather than complaints, all are referred to as “complainants”. Issues are the primary concern they raised.
There were 83 complainants during the first quarter of 2017, an increase from 77 complainants in the previous quarter but below quarter one in 2016 when there were 94.
Some complainants raised more than one issue in the quarter, meaning that some complainants are double-counted in the figures in the next section.
Bad weather in March resulted in the need for some aircraft to divert from the usual flight paths in order to avoid storm cells. Fifteen complainants raised the issue of aircraft flying unusual paths, including three complainants from Ascot, four from Clayfield and one each from Wooloowin and Hendra. All these suburbs were affected when jets diverted over their area by turning north-west shortly after departure to avoid storms and lightning to the south-east.
Eighty-four complainants were concerned about flight path issues including the perception that something had changed, increased frequency of movements, night movements and altitudes. Twenty-six were concerned about departures from Runway 19 and 33 were concerned about arrivals to Runway 01 as shown in chart 1.
Chart 1: Runway directions associated with flight path issues
In February and March usage of Runway 01 was above the level normally expected. Looking at usage over the last five years, February usage in 2017 was exceeded only by that in 2014 and March usage in 2017 was exceeded only in 2014 and 2015. If the typical seasonal pattern holds, as the cooler weather begins usage of Runway 01 will drop and Runway 19 will increase.
In quarter one complainants came from 49 separate suburbs.
The suburbs recording the most complainants were Ascot with five complainants and Sheldon, Clayfield and Coorparoo with four complainants each. Ascot and Clayfield were affected by weather diversions as discussed above.
Sheldon is under one of the arrival paths for Runway 01, with aircraft overflying the suburb generally between 3000 – 5000 feet. All the complainants from the suburb were concerned with Runway 01 arrivals.
Coorparoo is mainly affected by arrivals for Runway 01 but is also overflown by some of the jet departures off Runway 19 which are tracking to destinations to the west and north.
Four suburbs, Tingalpa, Ferny Hills, Seven Hills and Carindale all had three complainants each, with another 13 suburbs having two complainants. A further 28 suburbs had one complainant each.
In 2016 a total of 266 complainants raised 277 issues, which shows that a number of complainants raised more than one issue each.
237 complainants raised issues associated with flight paths. Concerns included increased frequency of movements, a perception that something had changed such as the flight path or altitudes, or a desire for a flight path to be moved.
The concerns of 112 complainants could be related to arrivals to Runway 01 and for 84 complainants to departures from Runway 19.
A total of 97 suburbs across the Brisbane basin recorded at least one complainant. 45 suburbs, or nearly half, had one complainant only. 24 suburbs had two complainants, nine suburbs had three complainants and one suburb had four complainants.
There were 17 suburbs with five or more complainants. A number of these are affected by both arrivals and departures from the main runway, arrivals if the wind is northerly and departures if the wind direction is mainly southerly. These include Morningside (21 complainants), Coorparoo (19), Camp Hill (13), Greenslopes (8), Cannon Hill (6), Seven Hills (6) and Norman Park (5). Their proximity to the airport means that aircraft are quite low over these suburbs.
Arrivals to Runway 01 caused the most concern in quarter four. Increased use of Runway 01 at this time of year is the expected seasonal pattern.
This quarter complainants from 40 suburbs contacted the NCIS. More than half of these suburbs (24) had one complainant each. The suburb with the most complainants was Morningside with eight complainants, followed by Sheldon with seven and five from Moorooka. Coorparoo and Cannon Hill had four complainants each. A further three suburbs had three complainants and eight suburbs had two complainants.
Full runway closures on the main Runway 01/19 continued throughout the quarter from midnight to 5 am. The schedules of some international flights were adjusted to allow them to arrive or depart Brisbane Airport at a time when the main runway was operational as the shorter runway is not suitable for these aircraft.
Seasonal weather patterns meant that the use of Runway 19 began to decline over this quarter and the use of Runway 01 began to increase.
Most complainants concerned about Runway 01 arrivals raised the constant nature of aircraft movements when this path is used, and the sleep disturbance caused by aircraft between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am. From quarter four 2016, when complainants advise of an aircraft operating during night-time hours the issue will be recorded as “night movements” to enable better tracking of this concern.
Complainants and suburbs
There were 85 complainants in the third quarter which is consistent with the second quarter. Four complainants raised more than one issue. For the year-to-date there have been 215 unique (individual) complainants. Some complainants have complained in more than one quarter.
The suburbs with the most complainants for quarter three were Coorparoo (nine), Camp Hill (eight) and Sheldon (five).
Coorparoo and Camp Hill lie underneath the Instrument Landing System flight path for Runway 01 and are also affected by Runway 19 departures.
Chart: Coorparoo and Camp Hill issues
“YBBN” is the code for Brisbane Airport. 01 and 19 are runway directions.
Sheldon while also affected by aircraft arriving for Runway 01 is affected by flights that are able to accept a shortened flight path. This occurs in better weather conditions. These aircraft track over Sheldon to join the main approach path in the Morningside area. They are mostly domestic jets.
The percentage of complainants who were affected by the runway closures dropped to six per cent this quarter.
There were 26 suburbs with one complainant, eleven suburbs with two complainants, three suburbs with three complainants and one suburb with four complainants.
Scheduled maintenance works on the main runway required full closure of the runway between the hours of midnight and 5 am from 9 May. During this period all traffic had to use the shorter runway.
Historically Runway 19 use peaks in quarter two and this seasonal pattern held. However the number of aircraft movements on this runway remained lower than those recorded in quarter two from 2011 to 2014.
While Runway 19 use peaked this does not mean that Runway 01 was not used. Runway 01 arrivals continued to affect complainants from suburbs aligned with the runway. The most affected are under the Instrument Landing System approach. This is due to the requirement that aircraft align with the runway from a distance of 10 nautical miles out (around 18 kilometres).
Complainants concerned about use of Runway 19 and Runway 01 tended to characterise this as increased frequency, as a change of flight path or were unhappy about the location of the flight path.
Chart 1: Issues raised
Chart 2: Breakdown of increased frequency issue
“YBBN” is the airport code for Brisbane Airport. 01, 14 and 19 are runway directions.
Complainants and suburbs
There were 84 complainants during the second quarter. This is a slight decrease from quarter one. For the year-to-date there have been 155 “unique” or individual complainants. Some complainants have complained in both quarters.
Eight complainants (ten per cent of all complainants) were affected by the night-time closure of the main runway. These complainants resided in suburbs underneath the approach or departure path to the smaller runway such as Wynnum and Nudgee.
This quarter the suburbs with the most complainants were Tingalpa (seven) and Wakerley (five). These suburbs are adjacent to the departure path to the south-east of the Airport and were affected by the seasonal increase in departures from Runway 19. Aircraft using this flight path are departing for southern destinations such as Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. This flight path was slightly modified in 2014 and moved 200 metres to the west to maximise use of non-residential land. More information about the Runway 19 south-eastern departures realignment
Overall the majority of complainants this quarter were concerned about departures from Runway 19. There were four complainants from Morningside and three from Coorparoo. Thirteen suburbs had two complainants each and 32 suburbs had one complainant.
In January, use of Runway 01 was high due to northerly winds. In February and March the wind became predominantly southerly and as a result use of Runway 01 dropped and use of Runway 19 rose. This is a typical seasonal pattern for Brisbane, however complainants characterised it as an increase in frequency or as a change of flight path.
Complainants and suburbs
There were 94 complainants during the first quarter. The suburbs with the most complainants are all affected by both Runway 19 and Runway 01 traffic: Morningside (nine complainants), Greenslopes (six complainants) and Coorparoo (five complainants). Due to their proximity to the airport and their location in line with the runway, these suburbs will be affected by aircraft noise regardless of in which direction the main runway is used. However Morningside complainants were more concerned with Runway 19 use this quarter, while Greenslopes complainants were more likely to raise Runway 01 use.
Sheldon and Tingalpa had five complainants each. Tingalpa is affected primarily by departures from Runway 19 while Sheldon experiences arrivals to Runway 01.
Ashgrove, which is affected by departures from Runway 19, had four complainants. A further three suburbs had three complainants. Eleven suburbs had two complainants and 30 suburbs had one complainant.
Chart: Breakdown of issues raised by Morningside complainants
“YBBN” is the code for Brisbane Airport. The numbers 19 and 01 refer to runway directions.