Airservices proactively works with the airport and the community to investigate, trial and implement changes to improve aircraft noise outcomes.
Investigations at Cairns Airport include:
Data on 4178 jet departures from July to November 2016 was analysed. The investigation found that variations in the turns were not confined to any one airline, and were the result of the differing turn performance of different aircraft types. While aircraft were beginning their turns at the correct point in flight, some aircraft types would take longer to complete the turn than others, creating a wider arc.
In Cairns there is significant helicopter traffic to and from the reef. While helicopters usually track direct between the Cairns Airport helipad and the reef, at times helicopters are tracked over residents to the north of the airport resulting in concerns being raised by residents.
Discussions with air traffic control revealed that due to the helipad’s location to the west of the runway, at times there was conflict with arriving or departing fixed wing aircraft which prevented helicopters tracking directly to or from the helipad.
A possible noise improvement was identified that, where it was not possible to provide direct tracking and where it is operationally feasible, helicopters be instructed by air traffic control to track via the inlets and not over the residential areas. This would mean that track miles would be increased on these occasions. Further discussions with air traffic control will be undertaken.
Aircraft making late turns after departure from Runway 15 impacts on residents in the Esplanade area in Cairns. The investigation established that this was occurring more frequently than expected. Airservices wrote to the airlines to communicate the community concerns and ask for confirmation that they would comply with the requirements of the departure procedure at all times, unless there were critical reasons not to do so (ie emergency or weather). Subsequently community representatives on the Airport Environment Consultative Committee noted that they had seen a difference.
Community Aviation Consultation Groups
Airservices attends Community Aviation Consultation Group meetings at Cairns Airport to provide information to the community and assist in discussions on aviation matters. The Cairns Airport group is the Airport Environmental Consultative Committee.