Minimising aircraft noise
Canberra Airport works with Airservices Australia to implement extensive noise abatement measures to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on the community. The most significant and effective of these noise mitigation initiatives are the long-established Canberra and Queanbeyan noise abatement areas implemented in 1996.
Jet aircraft flying over the noise abatement areas are not permitted to fly below 5,000ft (1,524m) above ground level, and other aircraft are not permitted to fly below 3,000ft (914m). This protects 99.5 per cent of houses in the Canberra and Queanbeyan communities from direct over-flight (except in emergency situations or adverse weather conditions). As a result, aircraft flight paths into and out of Canberra Airport are concentrated in the corridor between the noise abatement areas.
People who buy houses outside these noise abatement areas must fully inform themselves of the likely increased noise exposure and future flight activity.
In addition to the noise abatement areas, Smart Tracking (formerly known as RNP) was introduced for capable aircraft in 2005/06.
Historical changes to operations at Canberra Airport to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on surrounding communities are further explained in our Fact Sheet.
Describing aircraft noise
Canberra Airport is a curfew-free airport. This means it operates 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a- week, with operations to increase significantly over time.
Not only will the number of aircraft per hour increase, but they will be bigger and will operate more at night as international and freight operations grow. Chapter 5: Passenger Terminal capacity and aviation growth, pg 62, of the Canberra Airport 2020 Master Plan provides additional information about the projected growth in operations.
There are several measures to describe aircraft noise, including information about flight paths and single event noise contours (N contours).
N Contours for Canberra Airport have been prepared in response to Guideline A of the National Airports Safeguarding Framework Measures for Managing Impacts of Aircraft Noise. N contours are a representation of aircraft frequency (how often) and noise level, over time.
The Canberra Airport 2019 Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) illustrates noise levels based on noise insulation standards outlined in AS2021. Unlike N contours the ANEF contours are not a reflection of noise experience, but rather a set of contours based on an average of aircraft noise when the airport is at capacity.
South Jerrabomberra (formerly known as Tralee)
In late 2012, the NSW Government approved in part the rezoning of land at the South Jerrabomberra residential development. The decision was made that residential development would not be permitted at South Jerrabomberra within the ANEF 20 contour, while development outside the ANEF 20 contour would require aircraft noise attenuation to comply with Table 3.3 of Australian Standard 2021:2015 – Indoor Design Sound Levels for Determination of Aircraft Noise Reduction.
As a result, all sales contracts for houses at South Jerrabomberra include the following legal clause:
The Vendor discloses that the Property is subjected to aircraft noise at any time by the 24 hour a day, 7 day a week passenger, freight and defence aircraft flight operations arriving and departing Canberra Airport. The frequency of aircraft movements and the size of aircraft are forecast to increase indefinitely into the future. It is the responsibility of landowners to noise attenuate their property to ensure their amenity as Canberra Airport will remain curfew-free.
Noise and flight path monitoring system
The Airservices Noise and Flight Path Monitoring System (NFPMS) collects noise and flight path data at various airports, including Canberra Airport. Airservices also collects data from a fixed aircraft noise monitor in Jerrabomberra which has operated since 2002.
In 2016, Noise Information Reports were replaced with online information that is updated quarterly. From October 2019, new interactive monthly reporting was introduced. The reports can be accessed via airservicesaustralia.com
Required Navigation Performance – Authorization Required (RNP – AR)
Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required (RNP-AR) is a satellite-based navigation technology that allows aircraft to operate with greater accuracy and alerts the flight crew if the aircraft deviates from the planned route. Greater efficiency can be achieved by reducing track miles, fuel burn and emissions. The procedures allow increased precision for safe and predictable landings, including during inclement weather and low visibility conditions. RNP-AR has previously been referred to as ‘Smart Tracking’.
RNP-AR flight paths are available for Canberra Airport’s main runway 17/35 (oriented north-south) but can only be flown by aircraft that have been equipped with the required technology and where the flight crew have been authorised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to conduct RNP-AR operations. To date, the RNP-AR flight paths into Canberra have only been used by jet aircraft.
QantasLink has updated its fleet of Dash 8 Q400 propeller-driven (turboprop) aircraft with RNP-AR technology, enabling them to be able to use the existing RNP-AR flight paths into Canberra Airport. Commencing on 8 September 2022, the existing RNP-AR flight paths will be used by a mix of both jet and turboprop aircraft, resulting in an increase to the number of flights using these flight paths. This change will not affect the total number of flights operating at Canberra Airport. There will be no changes to existing flight paths and no new areas will be overflown.
Further information about Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required can be found on airservicesaustralia.com
Aircraft noise information
Airservices and Canberra Airport provide information that explains key issues related to aircraft noise. This information is intended to provide information on topics which generate a number of enquiries.
Airservices Australia has an online tool that enables the community to see where aircraft fly and explore historical trends and patterns. WebTrak uses information from air traffic control secondary surveillance radars to display aircraft movements within 50 kilometres of the airport and up to 30,000 feet above mean sea level. Aircraft noise data is also displayed and collected daily from noise monitors strategically located around communities close to the airport.
Aircraft Noise Ombudsman
The Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO) conducts independent reviews of Airservices Australia’s and Defence’s management of aircraft noise-related activities, including:
- the handling of complaints or enquiries made to Airservices Australia or Defence about aircraft noise;
- community consultation processes related to aircraft noise;
- the presentation and distribution of aircraft noise-related information.
The 2013 article The Truth About Aircraft Noise is informative.
For more information visit ano.gov.au
Aircraft noise industry portal
In 2013, members of the aviation and airport industry collaborated to release an aircraft noise information portal for the Australian community.
The Portal provides information about particular aircraft, airports and noise policies. However, its intent is mainly to act as a hub where members of the community can find out more about the many facets of aircraft noise. aircraftnoise.com.au
As a partner, Canberra Airport welcomes feedback about the Portal firstname.lastname@example.org