The preliminary flight paths for Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport (WSI) have been made public this week, with the Federal Government now keen on engaging with suburbs impacted by flight noise before confirming final flight details ahead of the hub’s anticipated launch in 2026.
To help with the community engagement, the estimated aircraft noise impacts of routes are now available through an online interactive Aircraft Overflight Noise Tool (HERE).
The tool lets people search an address or location and get a clearer picture of impacts brought on by flight paths, including the expected altitude at that location, daily aircraft numbers and the predicted aircraft noise.
Penrith, Blacktown, Mount Druitt, Prospect Reservoir and Erskine Park have all been earmarked as areas that will be most impacted by aircraft noise.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Catherine King, said transparency with the community will be central to successfully launching a second Sydney airport that pleases all stakeholders.
“My department will hold community information and feedback sessions as well as community information stalls across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains over the coming months, communities will be able to find out more information and speak with the flight path design team at these events,” she said.
The preliminary flight paths have been developed by a group of experts which includes AirServices Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Department of Defence and airport operator WSA Co.
They were developed according to Airspace Design Principles that reflect community feedback from the ‘proof-of-concept’ flight paths released in 2015, embracing principles that aim to minimise flights over residential areas and reducing the impact on the community of aircraft operations at night.
“Later this year, we will release a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that examines the noise, social and environmental impacts of the preliminary flight paths and includes a draft noise insulation and property acquisition policy,” Minister King added.
The upcoming 24-7 Western Sydney Airport has been talked about for decades, but has faced opposition from community groups over noise and pollution, however, the pressing need to grow air travel capacity in Australia’s second largest city ultimately saw the construction plan actioned.
WSI has already inked a major flight deal with Qantas Group, and is also in discussions with major Aussie players like Virgin and overseas airlines to sign on for routes when it opens in two years’ time.