Essendon Airport

Complaints

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.

Overview

At Essendon Airport most complainants raise one of two issues:

  • helicopter activities
  • general aviation traffic

In the majority of complaints about helicopter activities, the nominated flight was an emergency services operation. For example, Air Ambulance Victoria has helicopters based at Essendon Airport. Because they are equipped for retrieval and patient care, these helicopters are large twin engine aircraft and can be quite loud. In addition, patient care requirements sometimes mean that these helicopters need to fly relatively low. All emergency services may operate during the curfew. Information about emergency services based at Essendon Airport is available from the Airport’s website.

Complainants concerned about general aviation activities often reside in suburbs further away from the airport and are disturbed by aircraft flying outside controlled airspace.

2018 Overview

Complainants

There were 127 individual complainants in 2018, which is a decrease from 137 in 2017.

Chart 1: Comparison of complainant numbers 2016 to 2018

Chart showing the number of complainants in 2018 with a comparison to 2016 and 2017.

Issues

In 2018 the main issue was again helicopter operations raised by 46 percent of complainants. This percentage is consistent with 2017. The other main issues raised were Curfew operations, night movements and general aviation traffic. Chart 2 provides a comparison of complainant numbers for these issues from 2016 to 2018.

Chart 2: Main issues raised in 2018, number of complainants affected with a comparison of complainant numbers for 2016 and 2017

Chart showing the number of complainants raising main issues in 2018 with a comparison to 2016 and 2017.

Helicopters

Of the complainants raising this issue, 47 percent were affected by emergency services operations and 46 percent were concerned with helicopters conducting airwork. Airwork encompasses media operations as well as survey work. Other concerns raised were regarding standard operations and the altitude of the aircraft.

Night Movements and Curfew

The issues of Night Movements and Curfew were raised by 48 complainants. The majority of complainants under both of these issues were affected by emergency services operations.

Emergency Services operations

In total 86 percent of complainants were affected by emergency services operations. This is an increase from 60 percent of complainants in 2017. Chart 3 below provides the main issues raised by complainants affected by these operations with a comparison with 2016 and 2017.

The nature of emergency services work is such that operations can take place at all hours. While this can be disturbing it is unavoidable due to the vital nature of the work. Emergency services operators are aware of the noise impact of their operations and try to minimise these as far as possible.

Chart 3: Breakdown of issues associated with emergency services operations, number of complainants affected and comparison with 2016 and 2017

Chart showing a breakdown of the complainants concerned with issues associated with Emergency Services with a comparison to 2016 and 2017.

Suburbs

In 2018 a total of 78 suburbs recorded one or more complainants. Fifty seven suburbs recorded a single complainant.

The suburbs recording the most complainants were Strathmore with nine complainants, Essendon North and Essendon with seven complainants each and Prahran with six complainants.

Strathmore residents were affected mainly by emergency services operations (five complainants), residents also raised concerns w ground running at the airport, and standard flight path movements.

Both Essendon and Essendon North residents were primarily affected by Curfew operations, both permitted movements and emergency services operation.

Prahran residents were affected by helicopters conducting airwork. All residents were affected by media helicopters in March 2018.

Chart 4 provides a complainant and suburb comparison of these suburbs with the calendar years of 2017 and 2016.

Chart 4: Suburbs recording the most complainants in 2018 with comparison 2017/2016

Chart showing the number of complainants per suburb with a comparison to 2016 and 2017.

October - December 2018

Complainants

There were 24 complainants in quarter four 2018 which is a slight decrease from 27 in quarter three.
There were 127 complainants in the 2018 calendar year.

Chart 1: Number of complainants’ comparison

Chart showing number of complainants per quarter for the previous four quarters

Issues

The main issue in quarter four was again Helicopters, raised by 12 complainants and the main concerns remained Airwork and Emergency Services operations.

General aviation traffic was a concern to five complainants and Curfew operations and Night movements affected three complainants each.

Chart 2: Issues raised in quarter four

Chart showing the number of complainants raising concerns per issue

Suburbs

Twenty one individual suburbs recorded complainants in quarter four. Nineteen suburbs recorded a single complainant.

Moonee Ponds recorded three complainants and residents raised concerns with emergency services operations, operating within the Curfew and Runway 17 departures.

Pascoe Vale recorded two complainants and were affected by emergency services operations and standard operations to and from the airport.

July - September 2018

Complainants

There were 27 complainants in quarter three 2018 which is a reduction from the Quarter 2 2018 figure of 36 complainants.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Chart showing comparison of complainant numbers for past four quarters

Issues

The main issue was again Helicopters, raised by 15 complainants. The main concerns raised about helicopter operations were Airwork and Emergency Services operations.

A total of 8 complainants raised concerns about operations during the curfew. The majority of night movements and curfew movements were emergency service operations.

Chart 2: Issues raised in quarter three

chart showing number of complainants raising each issue

Suburbs

Complainants were recorded from 22 individual suburbs in quarter three. The suburbs recording the most complainants was Fitzroy North with three complainants and about airwork helicopter. Airport West, Brunswick, Essendon North, Kew and Strathmore with two complainants each. The remaining 16 suburbs recorded one complainant each.

April - June 2018

Complainants

There were 36 complainants in quarter two 2018 which is a reduction from the Quarter 1 2018 figure of 45 complainants.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Chart showing number of complainants per quarter for the previous four quarters

Issues

The main issue was again Helicopters, raised by 12 complainants. The main concerns raised about helicopter operations were Airwork and Emergency Services operations. Airwork includes aerial surveys, media and scenic flights.
A total of 3 complainants raised concerns about operations during the curfew and 9 raised concerns about night movements. The majority of night movements and curfew movements were emergency service operations.

Chart 2: Issues and number of complainants

Chart showing the number of complainants raising each issue
Overall, emergency services operations were the cause of concern for 18 complainants. The majority, of these complainants raised concerns about emergency services operations during the night time or curfew period. ‘Night movements’ reflects that some of these complainants were disturbed at a noise sensitive time, yet prior to the commencement of the curfew.

Chart 3: Breakdown of issues associated with emergency service operations

Chart showing the number of complainants raising each issue when associated with emergency services

Suburbs

Complainants were recorded from 32 separate suburbs in quarter two. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Essendon and Strathmore both with three complainants each.

January - March 2018

Complainants

There were 45 complainants in quarter one 2018 which is consistent with the quarter four 2017 figure of 50 complainants.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Chart showing number of complainants per quarter for the previous four quarters

Issues

The main issue was again Helicopters, raised by 27 complainants. The main concerns raised about helicopter operations were Airwork and Emergency Services operations. Airwork includes aerial surveys, media and scenic flights.

A total of 15 complainants raised concerns about operations during the curfew. The majority of movements reported during the curfew were emergency services movements.

Chart 2: Issues and number of complainants

Chart showing the number of complainants raising each issue

Overall, emergency services operations were the cause of concern for 21 complainants. The majority, 13, of these complainants raised concerns about emergency services operations during the curfew period. The remaining 8 complainants were disturbed during non-curfew hours, although ‘night movements’ reflects that some of these complainants were disturbed at a noise sensitive time, yet prior to the commencement of the curfew.

Chart 3: Breakdown of issues associated with emergency service operations

Chart showiing the number of complainants raising each issue when associated with emergency services

Suburbs

Complainants were recorded from 28 separate suburbs in quarter one. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Essendon North, Prahran and Strathmore all with five complainants each. All five complainants from Prahran raised concerns about the same traffic network helicopter. Essendon North complainants were concerned by curfew movements and complainants from Strathmore were concerned by helicopter operations and curfew movements. Three complainants were recorded from Carlton North and Essendon, two complainants from Collingwood and one complainant from each of the remaining 22 suburbs across Melbourne.

2017 Overview

Complainants

There were 137 individual complainants in 2017, which is an increase from 101 complainants in 2016. In 2017 there was an increase in complainants regarding helicopter operations, night movements and aircraft operating in the Curfew period.

Issues

The major issue in 2017 was Helicopters which was raised by 45 percent of complainants. The combined issues of Night movements and Curfew were raised by 30 percent of complainants.

Chart 1: Issues raised in 2017 and the number of complainants affected

graph showing number of complainants raising each issue in 2017

Helicopters

Complainants raising this issue were mainly concerned with either emergency services helicopters or helicopters conducting airwork.

Helicopters involved in media activities come under the classification of Airwork and 29 percent of complainants raising the issue of helicopters were concerned with Airwork. Various sporting events in the Melbourne city area meant that this was raised by a greater number of complainants in October. See the Investigations page to learn about investigations into helicopter activities.

Emergency services helicopters were nominated by 65 percent of complainants raising the issue of Helicopters.

Night Movements and Curfew

The issues of Night Movements and Curfew were raised by 41 complainants. The majority of these complainants, 78 percent, were concerned with emergency services operations.

The issues of Helicopters and the combined issues of Curfew and Night Movements have consistently been the major issues raised throughout 2017, as can be seen in Chart 2 below.

Chart 2: Issues for each quarter in 2017

graph showing number of complainants raising each issue broken down per quarter

Emergency Services operations

A number of emergency services operate out of Essendon Airport. These operations were raised as a concern by 60 percent of all complainants. The breakdown of the issues around emergency services can be seen below in Chart 3.

Chart 3: Breakdown of issues associated with emergency services operations and number of complainants affected

number of complainants raising each classification of the emergency services issue

The nature of emergency services work is such that operations can take place at all hours. While this can be disturbing it is unavoidable due to the vital nature of the work. Emergency services operators are aware of the noise impact of their operations and try to minimise these as far as possible.

Suburbs

A total of 93 suburbs recorded one or more complainants. Strathmore recorded the most complainants, which was nine. Pascoe Vale and Essendon North recorded five complainants, and Oak Park and Preston each recorded four complainants.

Strathmore is located directly to the east of the airport and is overflown by arrivals on to the east west runway, and by helicopters departing or arriving from the south or west of the airport. The main issues raised were Curfew and Night movements, with 67 percent of Strathmore complainants raising these.

Pascoe Vale is located east of Strathmore, and is overflown by arrivals onto Runway 26 as well as some helicopters from the east and south. Complainants from this suburb were mainly concerned with Curfew and Night movements.

Essendon North is located directly to the south of the airport and is overflown by aircraft on arrival or departure to the north-south runway, Runway 17/35. The issues raised included Helicopters, Standard flight path movements, and Curfew operations regarding permitted movements during the curfew time period.

One complainant only was recorded from 70 suburbs.

Complainants are generally from suburbs around the airport however some suburbs from further afield also recorded complainants. These complainants were generally raising issues around emergency services operations, including Helicopters and Night movements.

Chart 4 provides a complainant and suburb comparison for the calendar years 2017 and 2016.

Chart 4: Suburb and Complainant comparison 2017/2016

comparison from 2016 to 2017 of the number of complainants in each suburb with the highest number of complainants

October - December 2017

Complainants

There were 50 complainants during quarter four 2017, which is an increase from 32 in quarter three. The increase in complainants was due to an increase in complaints regarding helicopter operations and operations within the Curfew period.

Chart 1: Number of complainants’ comparison

chart showing number of complainants per quarter

Issues

As shown in Chart 1 below the main issue in this quarter was Helicopters with 20 complainants raising this issue. Emergency services operations were raised by 50 percent of these complainants and media helicopters were also of concern.

The issue of Curfew was raised by 13 complainants. Permitted movements was a concern of 38 percent of these complainants, with the rest concerned with emergency services movements.

Chart 2: Issues and number of complainants affected

graph showing the number of complainants raising each issue

Overall, emergency services were raised as part of an issue by 50 percent of all complainants. The issues raised by these complainants can be seen in chart 3 below.

Chart 3: Breakdown of issues associated with emergency services operations

Chart showing the percentage breakdown of the different classifications associated with the emergency services issue

Suburbs

Complainants from 41 suburbs registered a complaint in quarter four 2017. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Strathmore and Essendon North with four complainants each.

Strathmore is located directly to the east of the airport and is overflown by arrivals on to the east west runway at the airport and by helicopters departing or arriving from the south or west of the airport. Three of the complainants from this suburb were affected by an early morning departure of an emergency services small jet aircraft.

Essendon North is located directly to the south of the airport and is overflown by aircraft on departure when the north-south runway is used in a southerly direction and by aircraft on arrival when the runway is used in a northerly direction. The main issue raised was regarding permitted movements during the curfew period.

Coburg North, Pascoe Vale and Prahran each recorded two complainants. All these suburbs except for Prahran are located close to the airport. Prahran complainants were concerned with emergency services operations and a survey aircraft. The survey operation was raised by four separate complainants from four separate suburbs.

A single complainant was recorded for 36 suburbs.

July - September 2017

Complainants

There were 32 complainants in quarter three. This is a slight increase from 28 complainants in the previous quarter. 94 individual complainants have contacted the NCIS in the year-to-date.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Number of complainants

Issues

As shown in Chart 2, the main issue this quarter was Night Movements with 11 complainants. Ten of these complainants nominated movements by emergency services. This reflects the fact that 99 per cent of movements during the curfew were emergency services this quarter, up from the previous two quarters – see Curfew Movements charts on the Movements page.

Chart 2: Issues

Issues

Concerns about emergency services operations were raised by nearly half of all complainants.

Chart 3: Percentage of complainants concerned about emergency services operations

Emergency services

Suburbs

Complainants were recorded from 27 individual suburbs during this quarter. The suburb with most complainants was Gladstone Park with three complainants. Richmond, Northcote and Pascoe Vale had two complainants each, the remaining suburbs had one complainant each.

The residents from Gladstone Park were all affected by the issue of unusal movements; specifically aircraft turning left from Runway 35. This issue was investigated in August 2017 and was found to be due to routine traffic management – see Investigations and Community Consultation.

Emergency services operations were the cause of concern to residents in Richmond, Northcote and Pascoe Vale. These operations affected a further 11 suburbs.

April - June 2017

Complainants

There were 28 complainants in quarter two 2017. This is a decrease from 37 complainants in the first quarter 2017. Sixty-four individual complainants have contacted us in the year-to-date.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Number of complainants comparison

Issues

The main issue this quarter was helicopters with 13 complainants. Night movements followed helicopters with eight complainants and general aviation traffic recorded five complainants.

Chart 2: Issues, quarter two

Issues

Emergency services operations were the cause of concern for 10 of the 13 complainants affected by the issue of helicopters. The other three complainants under this issue were affected by helicopter operations involved in air work and media flights.

All seven complainants under the issue of night movements 11.00 pm -6.00 am were affected by fixed wing emergency services.

All five complainants under the issue of general aviation traffic were affected by fixed wing emergency services operations.

In total, 76 per cent of all issues raised were to do with emergency services activities.

Chart 3: Breakdown of issues associated with emergency services operations

Emergency services

Suburbs

Twenty-four individual suburbs were recorded complainants during quarter two. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Strathmore, Essendon North, Brunswick and Ashburton all with two complainants each.

The complainants from Strathmore, Brunswick and Ashburton were all affected by emergency services helicopter operations. A Brunswick complainant was also affected by fixed wing operations.

January - March 2017

Complainants

There were 37 complainants in quarter one 2017. This is an increase from 33 complainants for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Number of complainants comparison

Issues and suburbs

Helicopters were raised as an issue by 24 complainants. Emergency services operations were the cause of concern for 20 of these complainants. Of these, fourteen complainants were affected by operations during the curfew period.

The other four complainants were affected by helicopters involved in airwork operations and media flights.

Chart 2: Numbers of complainants raising the issue of emergency services helicopters and their suburbs

Emergency services helicopters

General aviation traffic was nominated by six complainants. Two of these complainants were affected by fixed wing emergency services operations. The other complainants were in the vicinity of designated VFR routes, or were affected by aircraft conducting airwork.

Complainants came from twenty-nine individual suburbs in quarter one. Twenty-three suburbs had one complainant each.

Chart 3: Suburbs with two or more complainants

Suburbs

The residents of Oak Park, Moonee Ponds, Preston and Strathmore were all affected by emergency services helicopter operations. Moonee Ponds was also affected by fixed wing operations.

The residents of Ivanhoe East were affected by general aviation traffic, while the residents of Strathmore Heights, due to their proximity to the airport, were affected by arriving and departing traffic.

2016 Overview

Complainants

There were 101 individual complainants for the 2016 calendar year.

Issues and suburbs

In 2016 fifty complainants raised the issue of helicopters. Almost half nominated activities that were emergency services operations (21). A further sixteen complainants were concerned by helicopters conducting airwork, such as traffic reporting helicopters. Other concerns included altitudes and random movements outside controlled airspace.

Complainants from a total of forty-four suburbs complained about helicopter activities. Six suburbs each had two complainants who raised the issue. Thirty-eight suburbs had one complainant each.

Chart 1: Issues relating to helicopters, 2016

Helicopters, 2016

General aviation traffic affected twenty-eight complainants. Emergency services operations were the main concern for twelve of these complainants. Others were concerned about arrivals or departures from the airport or random general aviation movements.

Chart 2: Numbers of complainants raising the issue of general aviation and their suburbs

General aviation 2016

During 2016 complainants from a total of 71 suburbs complained of operations associated with Essendon Airport. Fifty-five of these suburbs recorded a single complainant only.

Chart 3: Suburbs with more than one complainant, 2016

Suburbs 2016

Strathmore and Essendon complainants were affected by helicopter activities. Essendon complainants were also affected by emergency services operations.

Note that some complainants may have raised two or more issues each in 2016.