Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance – people before planes

This timeline brings together various key events and milestones pertaining to and culminating in the launch of the New Parallel Runway at Brisbane Airport and its associated changes to flight paths as well as developments since. Dates and descriptions are primarily sourced from the ANO Report (Oct 2021) and have been complemented with further web searches including public notices under the EPBC Act.

2022

19/01/2022

The Brisbane Airport Post Implementation Review Advisory Forum (BAPAF) publicly released its first Quarterly Progress Report (Oct – Dec 2021) addressed to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce. The report is another strong vindication for the community that has been misled and duped since 2007. The report made four recommendations.

2021

12/10/2021

A string of failures at Airservices Australia has been uncovered in an investigation by the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO) into the community engagement and 2007 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for Brisbane Airport’s new runway. The ANO report finds that Airservices failed to effectively engage with communities potentially affected by new flight paths nor did it provide full and complete information about aircraft noise to potentially impacted community. Further, the findings show that Airservices did not conduct a detailed assessment of whether changes it made to Brisbane flight paths after the initial 2007 approval had a significant environmental impact.

24/09/2021

The Australian Government announced the establishment of the Brisbane Airport Post Implementation Review Advisory Forum (BAPAF).

30/07/2021

Airservices Australia commenced its Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the Brisbane Airport Flight Path Changes with the release of the PIR draft Terms of Reference.

21/06/2021

A day before his ousting by Nationals adversary Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack renews the Statement of Expectations for Airservices Australia for the Period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2023.

2020

19/11/2020

First informal meeting of what will eventually become the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance, Inc. (BFPCA) at QUT Gardens Point campus.

12/07/2020

Launch of the New Parallel Runway at Brisbane Airport

19/05/2020

The federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) made a further decision to vary the conditions of the Minister’s approval of the EIS originally given on 13/09/2007 (Notification of Variation to Approval EPBC 2005/2095).

10/03/2020

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack approved Brisbane Airport’s 2020 Master Plan.

31/01/2020

Community Engagement Plan Addendum, Airservices Support Plan for Brisbane Airport’s New Parallel Runway Community Update Program – Final Flight Path Design. 

21/01/2020

Airservices provided BAC with the “latest” design and the Parallel Runway Operations Implementation Group (PROSIG) meeting minutes record continued contact between BAC and Airservices to clarify and finalise flight numbers for the BAC flight path tool up until April 2020.

2019

06/12/2019

The major environmental assessment work undertaken by Airservices based its modelling on the detailed design in the Critical Design Review Report EA 1353 from 29/05/2018. However, an addendum to this assessment finalised on 06/12/2019 – “Addendum to Environmental Assessment of Proposed SIDS and STARS (outside the EIS boundary) for Brisbane’s New Parallel Runway Project” – environmentally assessed what it described as “minor design changes” the impact of “new updated flight tracks (design v21.6, 25/10/2019).”

04/11/2019

An Airservices’ officer emailed BAC referring to discussion “regarding the potential difference between Airservices final design and the one used for the BAC flight path tool.”

26/08/2019

Airspace Change Proposals (ACP) required to implement the new flight paths were approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on 31/10/2018 and 26/08/2019. The flight paths themselves had yet to be finalised and consequently the projected numbers of flights and their altitudes over particular suburbs was also not final. This ACP approval did not cover 12 other routes, which were to be dealt with separately.

26/07/2019

BAC also engaged consultants to update the noise modelling for the flight paths in 2019. The report of this exercise is dated 26/07/2019 and notes it is based on a workshop with Airservices on 18/07/2019, to update the noise modelling assumptions including calibrating the noise model based on actual flight tracks.

28/06/2019

In “Environmental Assessment of Proposed Changes to Routes associated with the Brisbane Airport New Parallel Runway Project“ (EA 1340, v1.1 from 18/06/2018 and v2.1 from 28/06/2019), Airservices assessed the impact of 37 new routes and flight path changes, the purpose of which it described as improving safety and “to take advantage of Performance Based Navigation capabilities of modern aircraft.” The 28/06/2019 update (v2.1) notes an increase to a total of 42 proposed route changes for assessment.

08/05/2019

Airservices Australia endorsed Brisbane Airport’s Aircraft Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) (Brisbane Airport Ultimate Practical Capacity ANEF) in accordance with the ‘manner of endorsement’ document approved by the former Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester (18/04/2017).

24/04/2019

Airservices adopted a different approach regarding community engagement for the areas identified as affected visually and audibly in report EA 1353. In the Background section of its Support Plan (“BAC’s New Parallel Runway, Community Update Program (November 2018 – August 2020), Airservices Support Plan”), Airservices notes the establishment of a working group with BAC in early 2018 to deliver information to the community. Governing this working group was a Parallel Runway Operations Implementation Group (PROSIG). The Support Plan also notes, “the consultation phase has been completed [by the 2007 EIS]. Therefore the community engagement phase for these activities is to inform, educate and update community.” (page 5).

2018

21/12/2018

The major work of environmental assessment by Airservices is set out in the report EA 1353 titled “Environmental Assessment of proposed SIDs and STARs (outside the EIS boundary) for Brisbane Airport’s New Parallel Runway Project”. The initial draft was on 14/08/2018, and the report was finalised on 21/12/2018. This assessment did not conduct a direct comparison of the flight paths between 2007 and 2018. It extracted a map from the 2007 EIS, applied its internal criteria for “significant” impact at 60dB(A), imposed the N60 contour onto and, since it substantially fitted within the map, determined that the significant environmental impact on the area with the map, and any requirements under the EPBC Act, had been approved under by the 2007 EIS.

31/10/2018

Airspace Change Proposals (ACP) required to implement the new flight paths were approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on 31/10/2018 and 26/08/2019. 

09/08/2018

Airservices wrote to the Department of Environment and Energy on 09/08/2018 attaching the Noise Footprint Comparison report (see 07/05/2018 entry) and advising that it had taken account of options to minimise noise impacts and considered its obligations under the Minister to be satisfied. It endorsed the conclusions of the Noise Footprint Comparison to the effect that there was no material difference between the flight paths proposed at that time compared to those in the 2007 EIS. However, Airservices own environmental assessment was not concluded until 21/12/2018.

(This letter has now been released under Department of Infrastructure & Transport FOI 22-146 on 18/02/2022.)

16/07/2018

Airservices submitted an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) to CASA for review on 16/07/2018, which CASA approved on 31/10/2018. (Source: Department of Infrastructure & Transport FOI 22-146 released 18/02/2022)

13/07/2018

Airservices prepared an Engagement Plan regarding the proposals to lower airspace for light aviation to accommodate the PBN flight paths and an Interim Engagement Plan regarding the changes to concentrate flight paths at high altitudes and at considerable distances from the airport. 

03/07/2018

Airservices also provided a commitment in the ACP submission to CASA to “engage extensively with all areas within the updated EIS airspace under N70 and N60 day and night noise contours and potentially sensitive communities identified as overflown beyond these noise contours to approximately 10,000ft” (page 8, Stakeholder Engagement Program for ACP submission – Brisbane’s New Parallel Runway, v1.1, 03/07/2018).

18/06/2018

In “Environmental Assessment of Proposed Changes to Routes associated with the Brisbane Airport New Parallel Runway Project“ (EA 1340, v1.1 from 18/06/2018 and v2.1 from 28/06/2019), Airservices assessed the impact of 37 new routes and flight path changes, the purpose of which it described as improving safety and “to take advantage of Performance Based Navigation capabilities of modern aircraft.” The 28/06/2019 update (v2.1) notes an increase to a total of 42 proposed route changes for assessment.

29/05/2018

More intensive work on flight path design is set out in Airservices Critical Design Review Report. The first draft was developed from 19/11/2017 to 09/05/2018, and the report was finalised on 29/05/2018. This report noted that the final designs should not deviate more than 10% from those in the Preliminary Design Review Report from 02/08/2017. The Preliminary Design Review Report, however, lists as one of its limitations “differences between the PDR design and the design as depicted in the MDP/EIS have not been assessed” (page 9).

07/05/2018

Airservices consulted and worked with BAC during the design of the flight paths. In 2018, BAC commissioned consultants to carry out a Noise Footprint Comparison of the latest flight path designs with those proposed in the 2007 EIS. Airservices advised that it participated in this assessment through a series of workshop. The report of this exercise found no significant differences between the two. The report appears to have been completed in the first half of the year, as Airservices agreed with the conclusions of the report in a letter to BAC on 07/05/2018, saying there was “no material difference” between the flight paths as then designed and those in the 2007 EIS. The letter noted a “comprehensive and detailed review” was conducted by Airservices and its “noise and environmental specialists” agreed with the conclusions. There was, however, no documentation of Airservices’ own assessment of environmental impact at this stage and its relevant environmental assessment was not concluded until 21/12/2018.

2017

02/08/2017

Further flight path design work by Airservices is documented in the Brisbane New Parallel Runway Airspace Design – Preliminary Design Review Report (PDR), which began in March 2017 and was finalised on 02/08/2017.

18/04/2017

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester issued ‘manner of endorsement’ document, which directs Airservices how to assess and endorse Aircraft Noise Exposure Forecasts (ANEF).

2015

03/02/2015

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss approved Brisbane Airport’s 2014 Master Plan (see media release).

2013

17/12/2013

Following a recommendation in the Australian Government’s National Aviation Policy White Paper (Dec 2009) to conduct “periodic reviews“ of the need for a curfew, the report “Future Brisbane Airport Operations – A Review of the Need for a Curfew at Brisbane Airport” was released. The report states:

“the Steering Committee believes that the establishment of curfew restrictions at Brisbane Airport is not the appropriate policy response for the management of aircraft noise impacts on Brisbane residents.”

page 4, Curfew Report 2013

The Steering Committee comprised five people representing: the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Queensland Government Department of Tourism, Brisbane City Council, Tourism and Transport Forum, and Airservices Australia.

2011

08/02/2011

The Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese approved a Minor Variation to the 2007 Major Development Plan (MDP) requested by BAC in December 2010. The original MDP proposed an initial runway length of 3,000m and a Runway End Safety Area (RESA) length of 90m. BAC now received approval for a length of 3,300m and a RESA length of 240m. This resulted in the southern end of the New Parallel Runway shifting 150m to the south and closer to the city.

2009

17/09/2009

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Anthony Albanese approved Brisbane Airport’s 2009 Master Plan (see media release).

2007

04/12/2007

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage confirmed that the Final Assessment Report was received (accredited assessment) for EPBC 2005/2144 (airspace management changes – parallel runway).

03/12/2007

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage issued a notification of the Assessment Report – EPBC 2005/2121 (Parallel Runway Project).

24/11/2007

The 2007 Australian federal election was held in Australia. The Australian Labor Party, led by Kevin Rudd and deputy leader Julia Gillard, defeated the incumbent Coalition government, led by Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister, John Howard, and Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, by a landslide. Kevin Rudd takes offices as Prime Minister of Australia on 03/12/2007.

20/09/2007

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage issues a notification of publication of the final EIS – EPBC 2005/2121 (Parallel Runway Project).

18/09/2007

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, announced approval for the construction of the New Parallel Runway at Brisbane Airport (see media release). This approval occured only 29 days before the Australian Government went into caretaker mode with the issue of electoral writs on 17/10/2007 for the Australian federal election held on 24/11/2007.

13/09/2007

The Minister for the Environment Malcolm Turnbull made a decision (decision number EPBC 2005/2095) under the EPBC Act to approve the proposed action with conditions. 

The office of the Minister for the Environment advised that the assessment of the proposal had been completed although some further consideration was required, “to take account of the options to mitigate noise impacts,” and “require validation of uncertainties inherent in the forecasts” of the EIS regarding safety and environmental assessment prior to the opening.

12/09/2007

Following Airservices’ referral of airspace aspects to the Commonwealth Environment Minister on 27/05/2005 (EPBC 2005/2144), the Minister for the Environment Malcolm Turnbull provided advice on 12/09/2007 in relation to two issues, namely:

  • the review of potential safety impacts within the Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS); and
  • taking into account options to mitigate noise impacts outlined in the draft Environmental Impact Statement and Major Development Plan (EIS/MDP) and supplement, and validation of the uncertainties inherent in the forecasts when conducting the safety case and environmental assessment of the proposal, prior to operation of the New Parallel Runway.

(Source: Department of Infrastructure & Transport FOI 22-146 released 18/02/2022)

03/07/2007

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage confirmed that the Final Assessment Report was received (accredited assessment) for EPBC 2005/2095 (Brisbane Airport New Parallel Runway Project).

06/02/2007

The draft EIS was open for public exhibition and submissions from 01/11/2006 to 06/02/2007. 

2006

03/11/2006

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage issued a notification of publication of the draft EIS – EPBC 2005/2121 (Parallel Runway Project).

2005

07/09/2005

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage issued the final guidelines – EPBC 2005/2121 (Parallel Runway Project).

29/06/2005

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage issued an invitation for public comment on the draft guidelines – EPBC 2005/2121 (Parallel Runway Project).

23/06/2005

In accordance with s87 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act), Senator Ian Campbell, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, decided that the proposed action must be assessed by an accredited process (Decision on Assessment Approach EPBC 2005/2095 and EPBC 2005/2121 and EPBC 2005/2144).

16/06/2005

The Minister for the Environment advised Airservices that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be required including public consultation.

27/05/2005

In compliance with s160 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) Airservices wrote to the Minister for the Environment notifying that airspace management associated with Brisbane Airport’s proposed new runway was likely to have a significant impact on the environment (EPBC 2005/2144).

06/05/2005

The Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage declared that BAC‘s proposed action to develop a new runway and associated works and activities at Brisbane Airport was a ‘controlled action’ requiring assessment pursuant to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) (Decision whether action needs approval EPBC 2005/2095)

21/04/2005

BAC informed the Federal Department of the Environment and Heritage about its proposed action to develop a new runway and associated works and activities at Brisbane Airport (Public Notification of Referral EPBC 2005/2095)