Review of arrival flight path to Hobart Airport
Airservices introduced changes to arrival and departure routes at Hobart Airport on 14 September 2017. The changes organise aircraft arriving into or departing from Hobart Airport onto standard routes.
Airservices has carefully considered the concerns raised in community feedback about the changes to this flight path and has conducted a flight path review to identify and assess possible safe and feasible alternatives.
In assessing possible alternatives safety was the highest priority while seeking every opportunity to minimise and where possible reduce the impact of aircraft noise.
The review process
A final decision will be made by Airservices based on safety, air traffic management efficiency and community feedback received. The outcome and reasons for the decision will be published in a Review Report on 22 November 2017. The Report will set out the alternatives considered and the reasons why each was determined to be feasible or not feasible. It will also contain a summary of the issues raised in the community feedback and complaints.
Feedback will be accepted until midnight 19 November 2017. Everyone who submits feedback will be notified of the outcome in writing on 22 November 2017.
Constraints on flight path design
In considering alternatives for the flight path, the following constraints exist:
- A Standard Terminal Arrival Route (STAR) enhances safety by building in the required separation distances between aircraft, and by ensuring consistency and predictability of arrival movements
- The flight path must be designed to international safety standards that have been adopted for Australia by the airspace regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority
- There must be an arrival flight path to the southern end of the runway that caters for aircraft coming from both the east and west coasts of Australia
- This flight path must join up to the pre-existing area navigation (“RNAV”) instrument approach path which provides guidance to the runway in all weather conditions– the RNAV flight path is illustrated in red in figures 1 and 2 below
- The turn onto the RNAV flight path must be between 70 and 90 degrees to meet aircraft performance and safety requirements
- The arrival flight path must cross over the departure flight path at a location that allows aircraft to safely descend and climb on their respective flight paths
- The flight path must remain inside “controlled airspace”.
- Controlled airspace is designated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. The eastern edge of Tasmania and the ocean further to the east is largely uncontrolled airspace which prevents flight paths being located there
- Wherever practicable aircraft should not fly over communities not currently overflown
Alternative 1: Current flight path
The interactive map below displays Alternative 1. To enter an address or location, click the search tool in the top right-hand corner (the magnifying glass), press enter, and the map will zoom in to that location. Additional instructions are accessible via the help icon (the question mark) in the top right-hand corner.Figure 1 (above): Alternative 1 – the current flight path, implemented on 14 September 2017, is shown in yellow. The red flight path is a pre-existing flight path that has not changed.
The interactive map below displays Alternative 2. To enter an address or location, click the search tool in the top right-hand corner (the magnifying glass), press enter, and the map will zoom in to that location. Additional instructions are accessible via the help icon (the question mark) in the top right-hand corner.Figure 2 (above): Alternative 2 is shown in green. The pre-existing, unchanged RNAV flight path is shown in red.
Figure 3 (above): Comparison of Alternative 2 with flight tracks pre 14 September 2017. The blue tracks are actual aircraft tracks before the change was made on 14 September 2017. Alternative 2 is shown in green.
Alternatives 3 and 4
Alternative 3 would be used by aircraft coming from north eastern ports such as Sydney and Brisbane. Alternative 4 would be used by aircraft coming from southern and western ports such as Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Alternatives 3 and 4 would require airspace redesign. Flight paths for large commercial passenger aircraft must be in “controlled airspace”. These alternatives are outside controlled airspace. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) designates airspace categories. Airservices would need to submit a proposal to CASA to change the airspace category to accommodate these flight paths. This airspace change process would take at least a year, with no guarantee that CASA will approve the proposal.
Detailed environmental assessment will need to be conducted to assess the effect on communities and the environment. If the environmental assessment found that there would be a significant impact on the community, Airservices would not progress the alternative. If the environmental assessment indicates the change potentially could be implemented CASA approval would be pursued and community consultation undertaken.
If Alternative 3 proceeded but Alternative 4 did not, or vice versa, aircraft coming from the ports that the alternative was catering for would continue to require the use of either Alternative 1 or Alternative 2.
Figure 4 (above): Alternatives 3 (flight path from the east) and 4 (flight path from the west)
Comparison of alternatives
Figure 5 (above): Comparison of all alternatives: 1 (yellow), 2 (green), 3 and 4 (orange). The pre-existing, unchanged RNAV flight path is also shown (red).
The noise impacts of the current flight path (Alternative 1) and the effects of the concentration of aircraft into one consistent flight path have been reported in Dunalley, Copping, Kellevie, Bream Creek, Marion Bay, Boomer Bay, Murdunna and Sloping Main. Dunalley, Copping and parts of Kellevie are directly overflown.
Alternative 2 replicates, as far as is possible, the “long approach” that was previously flown. This proposal would move aircraft further away from affected areas starting from Kellevie in the north to Dunalley in the south. While communities such as Dunalley, Copping and Kellevie will no longer be overflown, aircraft are likely to continue to be heard, especially at the southern end of the flight path. Dunalley residents will notice aircraft tracking on average 1 kilometre west of the current flight path and around 1.5 kilometres west of the south-western edge of the township.
Residents of Connellys Marsh may notice arriving aircraft tracking closer than before at between 3 to 4 kilometres from the eastern edge of the township. The current arrival flight path is between 4 and 5 kilometres from the eastern edge.
Residents of Murdunna and Sloping Main would notice little improvement from Alternative 2 compared to the current flight path (Alternative 1). While not overflown, these areas will continue to notice the effect of the concentration of all arrivals into the one flight path.
In Alternative 3 aircraft would fly around 2.5 kilometres north of the north-western edge of Murdunna which would be noticeable to the community in the area. Noise levels are estimated to be below 60 decibels but due to the low ambient noise this is likely to have similar effects to those currently experienced by communities affected by the current flight path (Alternative 1).
All areas overflown by Alternative 4 would be newly overflown. This would affect a number of small townships and key tourist areas such as Kettering, Oyster Cove, Snug and Bruny Island by overflight at relatively high levels of around 9000 feet. However due to the low ambient noise in these areas this may be noticeable. Sloping Main would be adversely affected by increased concentration on the western “arm” of the existing RNAV approach.
As discussed above, if only one of Alternative 3 or 4 was implemented, aircraft that would have used the other alternative would need to use either Alternative 1 or 2 instead.
The earliest Alternative 2 could be implemented is March 2018. Any flight path change takes at least three months to implement. The detailed design of the approach is required to be undertaken and the new flight path must be published a minimum of 56 days before it is implemented. This gives the airlines time to program it into their flight management systems and conduct any required training.
Alternative 2 would require only the standard publication period and could therefore be implemented in around three months.
Alternatives 3 and 4 would require a minimum of time of 18 months to achieve, including three months for detailed environmental assessment, approximately twelve months for community engagement and airspace change, and, if it proceeds, the required three months for implementation.
How can I lodge my feedback?
We welcome your feedback on these alternatives.
Please use our online Hobart Flight Path Feedback Form to lodge your feedback on the alternatives.
You can also download this hard copy feedback form and mail it to the address on the form.
Feedback will be accepted until midnight on 19 November 2017.
Download this information in a fact sheet (PDF 460kb)