Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance – people before planes

Many of of BFPCA’s supporters and followers don’t just suffer flight path noise pollution but also harassment from online trolls. Trolls are sad individuals who engage in deliberate disruptive behaviour on the internet, particularly in our online communities, forums, social media platforms, and comment sections. They intentionally provoke and harass others by posting inflammatory, offensive, or misleading content with the goal of generating emotional responses and derailing discussions.

Trolls frequently disseminate false information or engage in manipulative tactics to deceive others. Their actions contribute to the proliferation of misinformation, which can have far-reaching consequences, such as influencing public opinion, shaping narratives, or damaging our reputation. We have compiled this list of myth busters to counteract the spread of misinformation by trolls.

This only affects a small group of people.Not true. Flight path noise pollution is a Brisbane-wide issue. Airservices’ own complaints data shows that Brisbane residents across 226 suburbs have lodged complaints. Airservices’ proposed “solution” – noise sharing – will result in many more suburbs to be affected.
The airport was there first.First, the new flight path design launched in 2020 encroached on long-established residential areas with homes not insulated against such excessive noise pollution. Second, some people were not consulted at all, others were duped with flawed noise forecasts and misleading statements. Third, Brisbane Airport in its present position only opened in 1988. The original Eagle Farm Airport had a curfew that was removed.
Don’t live near an airport.The noise pollution emanates from the flight paths that criss-cross more than 226 suburbs, so this issue is not about proximity to the airport. Suburbs as far away as Upper Brookfield and Samford Valley are experiencing unreasonable and excessive aircraft noise pollution on a daily basis.
It’s just city noise. If you don’t like it, move.Highly concentrated aircraft noise pollution, every few minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is not just ‘city noise.’ There are local and state regulations to limit noise exposure for dogs barking, construction noise, loud parties, etc. – and for good reason. However, in Australia, there is no regulated maximum noise level for aircraft flying over residential areas.
Would you rather they come in over someone else’s property?No, we don’t. That is precisely what BAC and Airservices are proposing as a “solution” – they call it noise sharing. This means they don’t have to make any compromise or sacrifice and keep increasing their capacity and profit. BFPCA demand actual net reductions through movement caps, curfew, demand management and a Long-Term Operating Plan. Find out more about the pitfalls of noise sharing here.
The Brisbane community was fully informed and had years of notice about impacts from the new runway.Not true. Airservices and BAC failed to properly engage with Brisbane communities. They did not provide full and complete information regarding aircraft noise. Airservices had 20 years to design flight paths with noise abatements as a priority and failed. Three independent reports by the ANO, BAPAF, and Trax International have confirmed this.
Flight noise has only been a problem in Brisbane since the new runway opened.Not true. Brisbane communities have been actively voicing its opposition to the level of aircraft noise and the proposed parallel runway since 1991 when Brisbane residents petitioned Federal Parliament requesting the option to extend the cross-runway as it would have significantly reduced noise and see 80% of flights over water.
People can move if they don’t like the noise.Not true. There is a housing crisis and an affordability crisis in Australia. Moving comes with high costs including stamp duty and personal sacrifice. So moving is simply not an option for most families. And why should they? Why should long-established residents have to move while Brisbane Airport Corporation is allowed to pollute thousands of Brisbane homes?
Airservices Australia take noise complaints seriously.Not true. Airservices only count the number of individuals that complain and not the total number of complaints. It took the ANO to step in and investigate the significant number of complaints after the new parallel runway was opened. FOI documents reveal that Airservices staff are trained in stonewalling noise complainants. Senate Estimates reveal that Airservices’ NCIS team has not initiated a single noise improvement investigation despite having received tens of thousands of complaints.
Flight path noise up to 70 dB is acceptable.Not true. In 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) set the maximum safe aviation noise levels during the day at 45 dB and at night 40 dB. These are the internationally accepted standard at which noise harm starts to become measurable.
Brisbane Airport’s information on noise impacts arbitrarily focuses on areas subjected to noise over 70 dB. According to BAC, “The 70 dB level was chosen because it corresponds to the Australian standard for the onset of indoor speech interference of 60 dB. 10 dB is allowed for the insulation that a typical house would provide (with open windows), therefore 70 dB is used to represent the impact.”
Flight path noise is not that bad.Not true. There are countless studies detailing the detrimental effects of excessive aircraft noise on human health, including hypertension and other cardiovascular disease, dementia, anxiety, auditory disorders, children’s cognition and learning, and more.
There is no point in taking any action – nothing will come of it.Not true. Pressure from BFPCA’s advocacy and grassroots community action has already forced the federal government to admit fault and spend $580k+ on an independent review of Brisbane’s airspace plus a forward commitment of $15 million to implement changes. The review made 49 recommendations that might reduce noise for Brisbane residents. Sydney residents successfully protested in the mid 90s for protections against aircraft noise pollution and Brisbane residents deserve the same.
The runway’s concrete has set – we all just have to learn to live with it.Not true. While the runway is fixed, the airspace is not. Flight paths can be redesigned. Noise abatement procedures can be mandated. A curfew and flight movement caps will help to curtail the damage Brisbane Airport is allowed to inflict on the community. Furthermore, the cross-runway can be re-activated to provide better noise abatements.
A curfew does not work.Not true. Curfews have been implemented in many international airports including Sydney, Frankfurt, Budapest, Adelaide, Zurich and many others. A curfew is not a stand-alone solution and works best when combined with demand management, movement cap and a Long-Term Operating Plan that prioritises routes that don’t pass over residential areas. All of these measures are in place in Sydney. Brisbane deserves them too.
With two runways there are now more flights over the bay.Not true. BAC misled and deceived the community for more than 20 years regarding the intent to put more flights over water once the new runway opened, and continues to mislead the public today. The reality is the percentage of flights over water is now less than 50%, and less than it was prior to the opening of the new runway. The New Parallel Runway is having ZERO positive impact on the number of flights being routed over water over a 24 hour period. Even during the night, more than a third of flights continue to fly over Brisbane residential homes, waking up children and families between 10pm and 6am.
Flight restrictions are not appropriate for Brisbane Airport especially with the Olympics on the way.Not true. Sydney successfully hosted the 2000 Olympics while a curfew, movement cap and noise abatements were in place. Curfews have been implemented at other international airports including Frankfurt, Budapest, Adelaide, Zurich and many others. A curfew would only apply to night-time flights over land. There would be no restrictions to flights arriving and departing over water.
There is legislation that protects communities against excessive aircraft noise.Not true. First, there is no regulated maximum noise level for aircraft flying over residential areas in Australia. Second, while the Airports Act 1996 allows the Minister to make an airport capacity declaration (in essence, a movement cap), this provision has never been used on any airport ever. (Sydney’s movement cap is part of the Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997). Third, Minister Catherine King has categorically ruled out a curfew for Brisbane Airport despite prior promises for reviews of the need for a curfew.
There is no option other than to send flights over the city.Not true. The Trax International report provided 49 options to reduce aircraft noise pollution in Brisbane. Since the report was issued, Airservices Australia, Brisbane Airport and the Department of Transport and Infrastructure have needlessly delayed, deferred, denied, and deflected responsibility for implementing proposed solutions, while choosing instead to focus on endless engagement theatre and delay tactics.
Brisbane flight paths are world class and best practice.Not true. Trax International confirmed what pilots have been telling us – Brisbane has “dirty flight paths.” This means they are lower, for longer, louder and burn more fuel, creating more emissions.
Two federal and one international report confirmed that the airport misled the community about noise forecasts, and yet, they are still flying their dirty flight paths above our homes without any form of restriction or penalty.
SODPROPS is only viable at night when there are fewer flights.Not true. The Trax report showed that Brisbane airport could operate in SODPROPS mode (flight in and out over the water simultaneously) for several additional hours each day, subject to improvements to Airservices’ archaic processes, better ATC training, and use of technology.
In reality, the single biggest detriment to SODPROPS is the airport’s ambition of 110 flights per hour. BAC has told us that SODPROPS is limited by the high traffic requirements of the early morning and early evening. We suggest this should be the other way around: traffic should be limited by the ability to operate in SODPROPS mode.
The new parallel runway was designed and approved after a rigorous assessment of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).Not true. In a submission to the ANO, BFPCA provided evidence of a flawed EIS and the ANO agreed. Key points were:
– A long-term pattern of misleading community engagement;
– Failure to adequately consult directly affected community members;
– Insufficiently rigorous community impact assessment;
– Communication of complex and unclear information that limited the community’s understanding;
– Incomplete analysis of viable airspace architecture alternatives;
– Failure to remedy the EIS consultation deficiencies prior to runway opening;
– The actual noise impact significantly exceeds EIS estimates.
The Minister for Infrastructure is powerless to make immediate changes to Brisbane flight paths.Not true. There is legislation available to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure to protect communities against aircraft noise. Yet, Minister Catherine King has, to date, shown no interest in using the legislation or her powers to protect the Brisbane community and has refused to issue Ministerial Directions. Sydney’s community protections from flight path noise pollution came about from Ministerial Directions issued in the mid 90s.
Brisbane is acting like a country town.Not true. Progressive cities around the world are taking measures to reduce aircraft noise pollution while Brisbane is ramping up the noise guided by BAC’s vision to turn Brisbane into an Aerotropolis. Brisbane is going backwards while the world moves forward. Brisbane is lacking in leadership, concern for the health of its residents, and concern for the environment. Aircraft noise pollution in Brisbane is already making our city a less desirable place to live, work, play and visit.