Gold Coast Airport

Complaints

Airservices manages enquiries and complaints about aircraft noise and operations through the Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS). The information below is collected by the NCIS for the purpose of complaint management, analysis of issues and identification of causal factors. For this reason we refer to ‘complainants’ and ‘issues’. Complainants are people who contacted the NCIS. While some people submitted enquiries or comments rather than complaints, all are referred to as “complainants”. Issues are the primary concern they raised.

Changes to our complaint-reporting format

The new interactive reporting below (effective October 2019) will be monthly, rather than quarterly. New data will be available on the 10th business day of each month.

Use this interactive tool to explore the issues raised by residents from different suburbs. Read an explanation of issues and classifications used in complaint reporting.

Help is provided on both the Complainants and Issues and Classification Screens in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

If the NCIS have identified something new or unusual in the data, an explanation will be provided in a dated accordion below the interactive reporting. Previous quarterly reporting to January 2016 is under the accordion “Archived”. Yearly reviews of complainant numbers and issues will continue to be provided.

Note: monthly complaints data describes the complaints lodged in that calendar month. Depending on when in the month the matter was lodged, the investigation may not have been completed within the same month. Where an investigation reveals that the issue or classification initially assigned to the matter was not the most appropriate one, this will be corrected. This may result in incremental changes to issue or classification counts for a previous month. Additionally, complainant numbers are now for each month. Previously if a complainant contacted the NCIS each month in a quarter that was reported as one complainant, if you are adding the number of complainants each month, this may not provide a realistic interpretation of the total number of complainants. If you select a month where there were no complainants, nothing will be displayed.

The following tabs contain our previous complaint reports

2019 Year in Review

Complainants

There were 248 individual complainants in 2019. This is an increase from 143 in 2018.

The increase in the complainant numbers was due to the introduction of the Gold Coast Instrument Landing System (ILS) on Runway 14 in February 2019. 164 complainants raised concerns with its use in 2019.

Issues

The major issue raised in 2019 was Standard flight path movements, with 83 percent of complainants raising this issue. This issue includes concerns with ILS usage.

Unusual movements and curfew movements were each raised by six percent of complainants. Other issues in 2019 include General aviation traffic (2%), Training (2%), Military operations, property enquiries, night movements and sport aviation (each 1%), and ground running and other enquiries (3%).

Chart 1: Main issues raised in 2019

Chart showing main issues raised in 2019

Standard flight path movements

In 2019, the major concern raised in Standard flight path movements was the use of the ILS for Runway 14.

The Runway 14 ILS was introduced at the Gold Coast Airport at the end of February 2019. Seventy nine percent of these complainants raised concerns with the use of the ILS, while other Runway 14 arrivals affected four percent and Runway 14 departures affected 11 percent. The use of Runway 32 only concerned four percent of these complainants.

Chart 2 which shows complainant numbers for the different runway used and for ILS use for each quarter in 2019. While complainant numbers regarding ILS use have increased in quarters three and four, this is expected due to seasonal weather patterns that will require increased ILS usage in the later part of the year.

The ILS is only permitted to be used in certain conditions such as when poor weather affects visibility, for operational requirements, or during emergencies.

Visibility concerns due to smoke from bushfires as well as local weather events have increased in quarter four, resulting in increased use of the ILS.

Chart 2: number of complainants associated with runway used or ILS use

Chart showing the number of complainants associated with runway used or ILS use

Unusual movements

Weather diversions were the main concern in 2019, affecting eight complainants. Traffic management concerned four complainants, while three complainants were affected by missed approach procedures.

Curfew and night movements

Permitted movements were the main concern under this issue with 10 complainants affected. These include aircraft meeting the curfew restrictions on type of aircraft, and aircraft with a dispensation to operate during the curfew. Emergency services operations also affected three complainants during the curfew period while airwork conducted during the curfew period affected two complainants. Levels of air traffic in the non-curfew period resulted in this airwork being conducted during the curfew.

Suburbs

Complainants from 43 suburbs raised issues in 2019. The suburb with the most complainants was Miami with 39, followed by Mermaid Waters with 29 and Broadbeach Waters with 21 complainants. A total of seven suburbs had 10 or more complainants, while 19 suburbs recorded one complainant.

The majority of Miami residents (97 percent) were concerned with the ILS procedure for aircraft landing on Runway 14. Other complainants were concerned with unusual movements, including weather diversions and missed approach flights.

All Mermaid Waters residents were concerned with ILS procedure. Other issues raised included noise monitoring and unusual movements due to traffic management.

The majority of Broadbeach Waters residents (95 percent) were concerned with the ILS procedure. Other issues raised include standard flight path movements.

All suburbs recording 10 or more complainants were north of the airport and the majority of complainants from these suburbs (88 percent) were concerned with ILS use. Five percent were concerned other Runway 14 arrivals, and six percent were concerned with unusual movements resulting from weather diversions, traffic management or missed approach procedures.

The chart below shows the suburbs with 10 or more complainants in 2019, and compares the complainant numbers in 2019 with complainant numbers in that suburb in 2017 and 2018.

Chart 3: Comparison of suburbs recording most complainants in 2019, with those of 2018 and 2017

Chart showing Comparison of suburbs recording most complainants in 2019, with those of 2018 and 2017

July - September 2019

Complainants

There were 35 complainants during quarter three. This is a decrease from 111 complainants in quarter two and 114 complainants in quarter one. For the same period in 2018, there were 20 complainants.

The implementation of the Gold Coast Instrument Landing System (ILS) during quarter one 2019 continues to be raised by complainants this quarter however the number of complainants has decreased from 82 percent of complainants in quarter one, to 31 percent this quarter.

Issues

Standard flight path movements, including ILS operations, were the main concern raised this quarter, affecting 54 percent of complainants.

General aviation including training were a concern to five complainants, curfew movements were a concern to four complainants and other night movements affected two complainants.

Unusual movements and flight path changes affected three complainants.

Other concerns including property purchases and network interference were also raised.

Chart 1: Number of complainants affected by runway use and ILS use

Chart showing the number of complainants raising concerns about the direction the runway is used or use of the Instrument Landing System

Curfew and night movements

Curfew movement concerns were regarding permitted movements under the Curfew Act this quarter. These include movements by emergency services aircraft and small business jets. Some passenger jets may also be granted a dispensation by the Department of Infrastructure Transport, Cities and Regional Development to operate into or out of the airport on an ad hoc basis if certain criteria are met.

For more information about the permitted categories, visit the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development website.

Although a curfew is in place at Gold Coast Airport this does not prevent aircraft from operating in the area. The issue of Night movements was raised by complainants concerned with a small aircraft operating over the area conducting a survey. Due to the proximity of the area to the airport, this survey was unable to be conducted while the airport was operational.

Instrument Landing System (ILS)

The key concerns raised regarding the use of the ILS related to whether the Noise Abatement Procedure requirements were being complied with. The Noise Abatement Procedures require the ILS to be used only when poor weather affects visibility, for operational requirements, or during emergencies, however many complainants believe the ILS is being used in good weather and when not required.

In this quarter a total of 11 complainants were affected by two separate aircraft on two days which they perceived to be conducting an ILS approach. Instead, these aircraft routes were changed for traffic management which resulted in the aircraft tracking over the suburbs further north than the usual approach path. Further information on flight paths can be found at this site.

The conditions in which the ILS can be used can be found in the complaints report for Quarter one 2019.

Suburbs

Twenty-two separate suburbs recorded complainants in quarter three. A single complainant was recorded in 16 suburbs while one suburb recorded five or more complainants.

Suburbs with the most complainants were Burleigh Heads (5), Miami (4), with Tweed Heads and Surfers Paradise recording 3 complainants each. All of these suburbs except for Tweed Heads are located to the north of the airport.

Residents from Burleigh Heads, Miami and Surfers Paradise raised concerns over aircraft perceived to be operating on the ILS approach. Burleigh Heads and Miami residents were also affected by weather diversions.

Tweed Head residents were concerned with curfew and night movements as well as network interference.

Chart 2: Comparison of Suburbs affected by the use of the Gold Coast ILS in Q1 to Q3 2019, and number of complainants affected.

Chart showing the number of complainants contacting about the Instrument Landing System in 2019

April - June 2019

Complainants

There were 111 complainants during quarter two. This is a slight decrease from 114 complainants in quarter one. For the same period in 2018, there were 64 complainants.

The implementation of the Gold Coast Instrument Landing System (ILS) during quarter one 2019 has continued to be raised by complainants and continues to be the main reason for the increase in complainants. Seventy seven complainants were affected by this issue this quarter.

Issues

Standard flight path movements, including ILS operations, were the main concern raised this quarter, affecting 85 percent of complainants.

Unusual movements and general aviation including training were a concern to six complainants each, while curfew movements was a concern to four complainants. Military movements, Ground Running and concerns regarding noise monitors were also raised.

Chart 1: Runway directions, including ILS usage and number of complainants affected 2019

Chart showing number of complainants affected by issues associated with runway use

The concerns regarding Curfew operations were all permitted movements under the Curfew Act. These include movements by emergency services aircraft and small business jets. For more information about the permitted categories visit the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website.

Weather diversions and traffic management requirements were the cause of concern regarding unusual movements.

Instrument Landing System (ILS)

The key concerns raised regarding the use of the ILS related to whether the Noise Abatement Procedure requirements were being complied with. The Noise Abatement Procedures require the ILS to be used only when poor weather affects visibility, for operational requirements, or during emergencies, however many complainants believe the ILS is being used in good weather and when not required.

The conditions in which the ILS can be used can be found in the complaints report for Quarter one 2019.

Suburbs

Twenty-nine separate suburbs recorded complainants in quarter two. A single complainant was recorded in 12 suburbs while seven suburbs recorded five or more complainants.

Suburbs with the most complainants were Mermaid Waters (20), Miami (17), Mermaid Beach (11), Broadbeach Waters (9), Surfers Paradise (8), and Burleigh Heads recorded six complainants. All of these suburbs are located to the north of the airport.

All complainants from Mermaid Waters, Broadbeach Waters, Surfers Paradise, and Burleigh Heads were concerned with the ILS approach path, while 94 percent from Miami and 82 percent from Mermaid Beach also recorded concerns with the ILS approach path. Other issues raised in these suburbs include traffic management, unusual movements, and Runway 14 arrivals.

Other suburbs affected by the ILS approach path were Bundall, Benowa, Bilinga, Broadbeach, Broadwater, Burleigh Waters, Palm Beach and Southport.

Chart 2: Suburbs recording the most complainants regarding the Gold Coast ILS Q1 and Q2 2019

Chart showing complainant numbers from suburbs recording the most complainants in Quarter 1 and Quarter 2

January - March 2019

Complainants

There were 114 complainants during quarter one. This is a significant increase from 31 complainants in quarter four 2018. For the same period in 2018, there were 51 complainants.

The implementation of the Gold Coast Instrument Landing System (ILS) during the quarter is the main reason for the increase in complainants. There were 93 complainants affected by this issue.

Issues

Standard flight path movements, including ILS operations were the main concern this quarter, affecting 93 percent of all complainants.

Curfew movements and unusual movements were a concern to two complainants each.

Chart 1: Runway directions, including ILS and number of complainants affected

Chart showing complainants per issue

The concerns raised over Curfew operations were regarding permitted movements under the Curfew Act. Weather diversions and traffic management requirements were the cause of concern regarding unusual movements.

Instrument Landing System (ILS)

The key concerns raised about use of the ILS related to whether the Noise Abatement Procedure requirements were being complied with. The Noise Abatement Procedures require the ILS to be used only when poor weather affects visibility, for operational requirements, or during emergencies.

Weather

Weather conditions that can affect visibility for pilots include low cloud and rain. Air traffic control will advise pilots to use the ILS when:

  • the cloud base is at or below approximately 800 feet (244 metres), and/or
  • the visibility from the control tower looking out along the ILS flight path is less than approximately 4 kilometres. Visibility from the control tower is assessed by reference to geographical features at known distances. The ILS will be nominated for use once the visibility of Tugun Hill from the tower is reduced due to weather. Tugun Hill is located 4 kilometres from the tower.
Operational requirements

If a pilot requests use of the ILS due to operational requirements, air traffic control must accede to this request. The pilot-in-command of the aircraft always has the final say about which type of approach that aircraft will perform.

When this occurs Airservices will subsequently follow-up with the airline to ensure that expectations regarding the use of the ILS are clearly understood.

Concerns about weather conditions

A number of residents have raised concerns that the ILS has been used when weather conditions appear clear or fine at their homes.

Due to the often highly localised nature of weather conditions, the conditions close to the airport may be quite different from those you observe from other locations and may change quickly. Weather assessments are continually being made by air traffic controllers located at the control tower using data from instruments located on the airfield in addition to visual observations.

Air traffic control’s observations may differ from those of the Bureau of Meteorology because the Bureau’s report:

  • is issued every half hour, while air traffic controllers located at the control tower make minute-by-minute weather assessments and issue new advice to pilots immediately when required
  • covers a five nautical mile (10 kilometre) radius of the aerodrome with only one instrument actually on the airfield, whereas air traffic control use data from multiple instruments located on the airfield in addition to their visual observations from the tower.

Another key factor is that air traffic control must make the decision about which approach to nominate for use around 30 minutes before it is required so that pilots can prepare their approach. This will often require a prediction of the weather conditions at the airport at the time of arrival. If the conditions change before arrival it will usually be too late to re-sequence the aircraft onto a different approach. For this reason some aircraft may use the ILS when conditions have cleared somewhat, and aircraft using other (non-ILS) approaches may have to conduct a missed approach if conditions have worsened and the pilot is unable to sight the runway by the decision altitude.

Suburbs

Twenty three separate suburbs recorded complainants in quarter one. Nine suburbs recorded a single complainant.

The suburbs recording the most complainants were all located under the ILS approach path and these can be seen in Chart 2. Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach also recorded a single resident each, concerned with Unusual movements. These movements were not using the ILS approach path.

Other suburbs affected by the ILS approach path were; Varsity Lakes, Bundall, Southport and Banksia Broadway, each recording one complainant. Burleigh Waters recorded three complainants.

Chart 2: Suburbs and number of Complainants affected by the Gold Coast ILS

Chart showing complainant numbers in suburbs affected by Instrument Landing System operations

2018 Overview

Complainants

There were 143 individual complainants in 2018. This is an increase from 133 in 2017.

The increase in the complainant numbers was due to an increase in concerns regarding helicopter movements; from nine in 2017 to 42 in 2018. Unusual movements also concerned more residents, 15 in 2018 and four in 2017.

Issues

The major issue raised in 2018 was Standard flight path movements, with 47 percent of complainants raising this issue. However this issue affected less complainants in 2018 (67) than 2017 (87). As can be seen in Chart 1 below, the issue of Helicopters was also significant in 2018, with 29 percent of complainants concerned with these operations.

Chart 1: Issues

Chart showing number of complainants raising each issue

Standard flight path movements

In 2018 the major concerns raised in Standard flight path movements was the use of Runway 14 as can be seen in Chart 2 below. Runway 14 arrivals was raised by 48 percent of these complainants while Runway 14 departures was raised by 33 percent of these complainants. Multiple runway directions were nominated by 10 percent of these complainants.

Chart 2: Breakdown of the issue of Standard flight path movements

Chart showing percentage of complainants associated with each classification for Standard flight path issue

Helicopter movements

All but one of the complainants were concerned with short helicopter tourist flights occurring at the airport. All of these complainants initially contacted Airservices Australia between February and May 2018; and were from suburbs close to the airport boundary; Bilinga, Coolangatta and Tugun. These flights have now been altered to cause less disturbance to the neighbouring suburbs.

Unusual movements

Weather diversions were the main concern in 2018, which affected nine complainants. Traffic management concerned five complainants, while one complainant notified Airservices of an aircraft operating contrary to published procedures. Notification of this flight had already been forwarded to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in line with Airservices legislative obligations.

Suburbs

Complainants from 34 suburbs raised issues in 2018. The suburb with the most complainants was Bilinga with 33, followed by Banora Point with 12 and Miami with 10 complainants. A total of nine suburbs had five or more complainants, while 16 suburbs recorded one complainant.

Bilinga complainants primarily raised issues on helicopter operations at the airport with 30 complainants raising the short-flights of the helicopters as a concern. The other complainants in this suburb were concerned with ground running of engines at the airport, odours from helicopters, and emergency services operations in the curfew period.

Banora Point residents raised concerns with Standard flight path movements, with nine complainants raising this issue. Runway 14 departures was raised by 78 percent of these complainants. Other concerns were curfew movements and weather diversions.

Miami complainants were concerned with Runway 14 arrivals (70 percent) and unusual movements including weather diversions.

The chart below shows the suburbs with five or more complainants in 2018, and compares the complainant numbers with the number of complainants in that suburb in 2017.

Chart 3: Comparison of suburbs recording most complainants in 2018, with those of 2017

Chart showing comparison of complainants per suburb in 2018 and 2017

October - December 2018

Complainants

There were 31 complainants in quarter four 2018. This is an increase from 20 complainants in quarter three.

The increase in complainants is related to an increase in concerns due to standard flight path movements. There were also small increases in concerns around curfew operations, general aviation traffic, helicopters, property issues and unusual movements compared to quarter three.

Issues

Runway 14 operations affected 67 percent of residents who raised the issue of Standard flight path movements, with the majority concerned with arrivals on to Runway 14. Runway 14 use was greatest in October with most complainants raising concerns occurring in that month.

Chart 1: Number of complainants raising each issue

Image showing number of complainants raising each issue

Residents raising concerns over unusual movements were regarding aircraft being taken off normal flight paths due to other air traffic, including to facilitate an emergency services helicopter’s flight.

Concerns over curfew movements were over permitted aircraft operations, while the issue of helicopters related to operations in Springbrook. General aviation concerns were regarding light aircraft operating along the coastline, and the property issue was a query on aircraft operations over a particular location.

Suburbs

Complainants from 18 separate suburbs raised issues in quarter four. Eleven suburbs recorded a single complainant.

Five complainants were recorded in Burleigh Heads and three complainants were recorded in each of the suburbs Banora Point, Fingal Head, and Miami.

Burleigh Heads residents and Miami residents were affected by Runway 14 arrivals, unusual operation for traffic management purposes and light aircraft conducting airwork.

Fingal Head and Banora Point residents were affected by Runway 14 departures with several residents concerned with late departures; as the airport operates on Queensland time and the curfew commences at midnight in New South Wales time.

July - September 2018

Complainants

There were 20 complainants in quarter three 2018. This is a significant decrease from 64 complainants in quarter two.

The decrease in complainants in quarter three is related to a decrease in concerns related to helicopter and standard flight path movements. No helicopter issues were raised this quarter compared to quarter two where 19 complainants raised this issue, and 20 fewer complainants raised the issue of standard flight path movements in quarter three compared to quarter two.

Issues

The short-term helicopter operations that disturbed residents around the airport in quarter one and quarter two have now ceased. Residents were not disturbed by other helicopter operations from the Gold Coast Airport in quarter three.

Runway 14 operations affected 53 percent of residents who raised the issue of Standard flight path movements, with a single jet aircraft conducting a permitted VOR (Omni) approach to Runway 14 being a concern to 38 percent of complainants, from six separate suburbs. This approach is often mistaken by residents for an ILS (instrument landing system) approach. The ILS approach is not yet implemented.

Chart 1: Number of complainants raising each issue

Chart showing number of complainants raising each issue

Residents raising concerns over weather diversions and unusual tracking by aircraft are shown under the issues of Unusual movements. The issue of Other pertains to an access issue with the Webtrak program.

Suburbs

Twelve separate suburbs recorded complainants in quarter three. A single complainant was recorded from seven suburbs. Five complainants were recorded in Miami and two complainants were recorded in each of the suburbs Broadbeach Waters, Surfers Paradise, Tweed Heads and Tweed Heads West.

Miami residents were affected by Runway 14 arrivals and weather diversions. Three complainants were concerned with unusual movements over the suburb on the same day. Aircraft that departed from Runway 32 were unable to turn to the east due to thunderstorms; the aircraft tracked to the north then turned to the west before tracking in a south-easterly direction to avoid the storms.

Complainants from Broadbeach Waters and Surfers Paradise were concerned with the passenger jet that used the VOR approach on the same day. One complainant from Surfers Paradise was also concerned with aircraft noise and a jet flight path close to the shoreline.

Tweed Heads complainants were concerned with the early left turn of a departing jet off Runway 14, and noise disturbance from aircraft departing off Runway 14, while Tweed Heads West complainants were disturbed by Runway 14 departures as well as by circuit training.

April - June 2018

Complainants

There were 64 complainants in quarter two 2018. This is an increase from 51 complainants in quarter one

The increase of complainants in quarter two is related to Standard flight path movements. A jet aircraft conducting a permitted VOR (Omni) approach to Runway 14 was a concern to 14 complainants, from eight separate suburbs. This approach is often mistaken by residents for an ILS (instrument landing system) approach. The ILS approach is not yet implemented.

Issues

Short term Helicopter operations continued to disturb residents close to the airport over quarter two. More information on these activities is available on our Investigations page.

Runway 14 operations were the main concern to residents under the issue of Standard flight path movements. These operations affected 86 percent of these complainants, with 54 percent concerned with Runway 14 arrivals; as described above a single aircraft was the cause of concern to the majority of these complainants.

Chart 1: Number of complainants raising each issue

Chart showing number of complainants raising each issue

Suburbs

Twenty five separate suburbs recorded complainants in quarter two. Thirteen suburbs recorded a single complainant.

Chart 2: Suburbs recording four or more complainants

Chart showing the number of complainants from suburbs with four or more complainants

The majority of Banora Point, Mermaid Beach, Mermaid Waters and Miami residents were affected by Runway 14 operations.

Helicopter operations affected the residents of Bilinga and Coolangatta.

Fingal Head residents were affected by standard flight path movements, weather diversions, circuit training and helicopter activity.

Tugun residents were affected by Runway 32 departures, Curfew operations and Helicopters.

January - March 2018

Complainants

There were 51 complainants in quarter one 2018. This is an increase from 39 complainants in the previous quarter and an increase from 45 complainants in quarter one 2017.

The increase of complainants in quarter one relates to an increase of complainants contacting about helicopter operations as discussed in the Issues section below.

Issues

The main issue raised in quarter one was Helicopters, with 47 percent of complainants concerned by these operations. The second highest issue was Standard flight path movements, raised by 25 percent of complainants. Chart 1 below shows the number of complainants raising each issue:

Chart 1: Number of complainants raising each issue

Chart showing the number of complainants raising each issue

Helicopters

All the complainants who raised the issue of Helicopters were concerned about short round-trip flights. This issue was comprehensively investigated by Airservices but no solutions could be identified. The investigation report is available on the Investigations page.

Standard Flight path movements

Of the complainants raising the issue of Standard flight path movements, 85 percent were concerned by Runway 14 operations. The majority of these complainants were from south of the airport and were concerned by departing aircraft. Historically the use of Runway 14 increases in the first half of the year and the use of Runway 32 decreases due to seasonal weather patterns. The complaints reflect this.

Suburbs

Complainants reside in fifteen separate suburbs, with the most complainants living around the airport or to the south of the airport.

Bilinga, which is adjacent and to the east of the airport, had 22 complainants with 90 percent of these raising the issue of Helicopters. Other issues raised by Bilinga residents were odours and ground running, both of which are issues within the remit of the Airport.

Banora Point had seven complainants with 57 percent of these concerned with Runway 14 departure operations. Other issues raised were unusual movements, which were a result of weather diversions, and Runway 32 arrivals. Banora Point is overflown by aircraft departing Runway 14 and by aircraft approaching to land on Runway 32.

Coolangatta, which is immediately to the south-east of the airport, recorded four complainants; all were concerned about helicopter activity.

Of the remaining suburbs, two suburbs had three complainants each, another two suburbs had two complainants each and the remaining eight suburbs had one complainant each.

2017 Overview

Complainants

There were 133 individual complainants in 2017. This is a significant decrease from 338 in 2016.

In 2016 several flight path changes were made and the Golf Course Trial was conducted, resulting in increased complainant numbers. See 2016 overview. If the complainants concerned about these issues are not included, the 2016 and 2017 complainant numbers are fairly consistent.

Issues

The major issue raised in 2017 was Standard flight path movements, with 67 percent of complainants raising this issue as can be seen in Chart 1 below.

The issue of Curfew was raised by nine percent of complainants. The majority of these were regarding concerns around jet aircraft during the curfew. These aircraft were operating with a dispensation from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. Concerns were also raised about light aircraft and helicopters operating within the curfew times: these aircraft are permitted to operate under the curfew .

Chart 1: Issues

Issues

Standard flight path movements

The main concerns of complainants who raised the issue of Standard flight path movements in 2017 were Runway 14 departures, as shown in Chart 2 below.

Sixty-one percent of these complainants were concerned with movements to the south of the airport; and 46 percent were concerned with Runway 14 departures.

The changes made in August 2016 continued to concern 15 percent of complainants who raised the issue of Standard flight path movements. The number of complainants concerned about these changes declined over the year.

Chart 2: Breakdown of standard flight path issue

Standard flight path movements issue

Suburbs

Complainants from 33 separate suburbs raised issues in 2017. The suburbs with the most complainants were Banora Point with 25 complainants, and Tweed Heads South with 12 complainants. Kingscliff, Palm Beach and Tweed Heads each had eight complainants, and Fingal Head had seven complainants.

A total of 11 suburbs had five or more complainants, and another 11 suburbs had a single complainant each.

Banora Point had the most complainants in both 2017 and 2016 as can be seen in Chart 3 below. Generally complainant numbers are down in most suburbs for 2017 compared to 2016. This is a reflection of issues raised over flight path changes in 2016.

The suburb of Banora Point is south of the airport and is overflown by departing aircraft from Runway 14, and arriving aircraft on to Runway 32. Some circuit training aircraft may also track overhead. In 2017 76 percent of complainants in Banora Point raised the issue of Standard flight path movements. Other issues raised included Curfew, Military, Training, and Unusual movements which included weather diversions. The issue of the Gold Coast Airport Instrument Landing System implementation was also raised.

The suburb of Tweed Heads South is also south of, but closer to the airport. The suburb is also overflown by departing aircraft off Runway 14, and arriving aircraft on to Runway 32. Circuit training aircraft will also track over the area. 58 percent of complainants raised the issue of Standard flight path movements. Other issues raised included Curfew, Military and Night movements.

The chart below shows the suburbs with five or more complainants in 2017, and compares the complainant numbers with the number of complainants in 2016.

Chart 3: Suburb and complainant comparison 2017 and 2016

Suburb comparison

October - December 2017

Complainants

There were 39 complainants for quarter four 2017. This is an increase from 25 complainants in quarter three 2017, but a decrease from 56 complainants in quarter four 2016.

There have been 133 individual complainants for 2017.

Issues

Sixty-three percent of complainants were affected by Standard flight path movements in quarter four as can be seen in Chart 1 below.

Military movements were a concern to 13 percent of complainants. These complainants were concerned with military jets conducting practise approaches to the airport. Military pilots are required to ensure they maintain the appropriate ratings on civilian navigation aids as well as military navigation aids. Therefore this occurrence does occur on occasions at the Gold Coast Airport and other civilian airports.

Unusual movements were raised by ten percent of complainants. All of these were raised due to aircraft tracking to avoid bad weather.

Chart 1: Issues and number of complainants raising them

Issues

Standard flight path movements

The main concerns of complainants who raised the issue of Standard flight path movements in quarter four were Runway 14 departures and Runway 32 arrivals. This is shown in Chart 2 below.

Movements to the south of the airport were raised by the majority of complainants.

Chart 2: Runway directions used under the issue of Standard flight path movements

Runways

Suburbs

Complainants were recorded from 17 suburbs. Nine suburbs had one complainant and six suburbs had three or more complainants. Banora Point had the most complainants with nine, followed by Kingscliff with five complainants.

Standard flight path movements were raised by 66 percent of Banora Point complainants. They were concerned with both Runway 14 departures and Runway 32 arrivals. Both of these flight paths track overhead the suburb. Other issues raised by the Banora Point complainants were Military and Unusual movements.

Standard flight path movements was also raised by some complainants from Kingscliff. They were concerned with Runway 32 arrivals; the approach path for Runway 32 goes over the suburb.

July - September 2017

Complainants

There were 25 complainants during the third quarter of 2017. This is a decrease from 45 complainants in quarter two 2017, and a significant decrease from 101 complainants in quarter three 2016.

There have been 101 individual complainants for the year-to-date.

Issues

The NCIS continues to refine how issues are classified and applied. We have recently decided to classify all complaints regarding movements that are tracking on the relevant flight path and within the normal altitudes as Standard flight path movements. In our reporting to the community this will provide greater clarity about what can be expected in the normal course of operations at the airport. Unusual movements will only be used for commercial aircraft operating outside their usual flight paths at major airports. Examples of unusual movements will include, weather diversions, traffic management, radar departures, direct tracking and missed approaches.
The Night Movements category has been expanded beyond the previous 11pm – 6am hours to cover complainants who advise the NCIS that they have been disturbed by air traffic at any hour of the night.

Chart 1: Issues

Issues

As shown in Chart 1 above, the majority of complainants (sixty-four percent) were affected by Standard flight path movements in quarter three. The runway direction of main concern to complainants were Runway 14 departures and this is shown in Chart 2 below. Historically the use of Runway 14 begins to decline in quarter three and the use of Runway 32 increases. This is due to seasonal winds.

The complainants affected under the issue of military were disturbed by an aircraft conducting instrument training at the airport. Military pilots, like civilian pilots must remain current on flying procedures. At times they required to fly on civilian navigation systems which are not available at military airports.

Chart 2: Standard flight path movements

Standrad flight path movements

Suburbs

Ten suburbs were affected by aircraft movements during quarter three. The suburb recording the most complainants was Banora Point with six complainants. Kingscliff, Palm Beach and Tugun recorded three complainants and Bilinga, Tweed Heads and Tweed Heads South recorded two complainants each.

Runway 14 departures affected Banora Point and Tweed Heads, while Runway 32 arrivals affected the suburbs of Kingscliff, Tweed Heads and Banora Point. Departures from Runway 32 were the cause of concern for Tugun residents.

Bilinga residents were affected by permitted movements during the Curfew. Residents in Tweed Heads south were affected by the military operation and also multiple runway directions. The issue affecting the Palm Beach residents was not noise related.

April - June 2017

Complainants

There were 41 complainants during the second quarter of 2017, which is a reduction from 45 complainants in the first quarter of 2017.

There have been 82 individual complainants for the year-to-date. For the same period in 2016 there had been 223 individual complainants.

Issues

Sixty-seven percent of the issues raised by complainants in quarter two were about flight paths including concerns about increased frequency of use, perceptions something had changed, and the altitudes of aircraft. Fifteen percent of the issues raised were about helicopter activities.

The majority of complainants raising flight path issues were concerned with Runway 14 departures as shown in Chart 1. Historically Runway 14 usage increases over the winter months, however in 2017 there has been marked increase in the use of Runway 14, this is mainly due to the prevailing winds and weather conditions.

Chart 1: Runway directions complained of

Runways

Complainants concerned about helicopter activities were primarily disturbed by helicopters conducting airwork, which included power line surveys and photography.

Chart 2: Helicopter issues

Helicopter issues

Suburbs

The suburb with the most complainants in quarter two was Banora Point with five complainants. Banora Point is affected by departures off Runway 14 as well as arrivals for Runway 32.

There were four complainants each from Fingal Head, Tweed Heads, and Tweed Heads South. These suburbs are all to the south of the airport. The issue of main concern to these residents were Runway 14 departures.

Twenty-one separate suburbs recorded one or more complainants.

January - March 2017

There were 45 complainants during the first quarter of 2017, a reduction from 57 complainants in the fourth quarter of 2016 and significantly fewer than the 175 complainants in quarter one last year.

Issues

The main issues raised in quarter one were related to flight paths including a perception that something had changed, increased frequency and a concern that aircraft were too low. These were raised by 34 complainants (note that some complainants may have raised more than one issue). The majority of these concerns related to departures from Runway 14 (13 complainants), followed by the flight path changes made in August 2016 (nine complainants).

Chart 1: Flight path issues

Flight path issues, quarter one

Suburbs

The suburb with the most complainants in the first quarter of 2017 was Banora Point with 12 complainants. This was followed by Palm Beach with five complainants.

Banora Point, to the south of the airport, is affected by both departures from Runway 14 and arrivals for Runway 32 and complainants from this suburb were concerned about both types of movements. Palm Beach is affected by noise from arrivals to Runway 14.

Twelve suburbs had one complainant, three suburbs had two complainants and two suburbs had three complainants each. Tweed Heads had four complainants.

2016 Overview
In 2016 there were 338 individual complainants.

Issues 2016

The main issues for 2016 were about changes or perceptions of change to flight paths or a desire for a change (151 complainants), and the Golf Course Trial (103 complainants).

Sixty-four complainants raised concerns over the changes to flight paths that were introduced in August 2016, where approach paths were realigned in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements (for more information see quarter three). Fifty-two of these complainants were from suburbs north of the airport.

Fifty-two complainants were concerned with Runway 14 departures.

More than 80 per cent of submissions about the Golf Course Trial were against the trial (84 complainants).

Chart 1: Issues, 2016

2016 issues

Suburbs 2016

Forty-nine suburbs had one or more complainant in 2016. Twenty-one suburbs had one complainant only. Five suburbs had two complainants. Four suburbs had three complainants and a further four had four complainants. There were 15 suburbs with five or more complainants.

Chart 2: Suburbs with five or more complainants, 2016

Suburbs with 5 or more complainants, 2016

The suburbs with the most complainants was Banora Point (124). The majority of these complainants were making submissions against the Golf Course Trial. Kingscliff had 20 complainants and Tugun 17.

October - December 2016

There were 57 complainants during the fourth quarter of 2016, which is a significant reduction from 101 complainants in the third quarter.

Issues

The main issues in quarter four were concerns about a change of flight path that occurred in the previous quarter, or issues to do with existing flight paths such as increased frequency, a perception that something had changed, or a view that a flight path should change.

Sixteen complainants were concerned about the changes made in August 2016 that adjusted the alignment of some of the approaches to the runways. More information about this change.

Thirteen complainants raised concerns about departures from Runway 14, citing a view that something had changed (there had been no changes to the flight path) or that the fight path should be moved.

Chart 1: Breakdown of issues, quarter four

“OCTA” stands for “outside controlled airspace”
Quarter four

Suburbs

There were 21 suburbs with one or more complainants. Sixteen of these suburbs had one or two complainants each. The five remaining suburbs were Kingscliff with eleven complainants, Banora Point with ten, Tugun with eight, Miami with five and Palm Beach with four complainants.

Kingscliff is affected by arrivals to Runway 32 and on occasion by departures from Runway 14. Banora Point and Tugun, which are situated at each end of the runway, are affected by noise and movements regardless of the runway direction used.

July - September 2016

Issues

101 complainants raised issues during the third quarter of 2016. For the year-to-date there have been a total of 298 individual complainants.

93 complainants were concerned that the flight path was located over their area, or felt that the flight path hand changed, or was different from usual.

There have been a number of recent changes to flight paths associated with the Gold Coast Airport:

  • reinstatement of pre-trial southern departure flight path off Runway 14 to the south
  • change to the alignment of some approach paths both north and south of the airport on 18 August

Most of the issues raised were to do with the change to the alignment of the approach paths, however complainants from south of the airport also raised issues regarding the departure path off Runway 14 to the south. See quarter two for more information about this change.

Chart 1: Change of, different or location of flight path issues

YBCG is the code for Gold Coast Airport. 14 and 32 are runway directions.

Flight path issues

In the above chart, “Gold Coast Changes Aug 16” refers to the realignment of approach paths that occurred on 18 August 2016. To the north of the airport, changes were made to the “RNAV” approach and the “VOR” approach. More information about the changes

Subsequent to the change Airservices worked with the airlines to reduce use of the VOR approach by commercial jets. As a result it will be used by the airlines only when operationally required. Between 7 September and the end of the quarter the VOR approach was used only twice by commercial aircraft. It may be used on occasion however this is expected to be infrequent.

Suburbs

In quarter three there were eight suburbs with five or more complainants. The suburbs were Banora Point with 20 complainants; Mermaid Beach with 11 complainants; Miami with 7 complainants; Broadbeach Waters and Palm Beach with 6 complainants each; and Kingscliff, Tugun, and Tweed Heads with 5 complainants each.

Complainants in Banora Point were mainly concerned with the southern departures trial and the outcome of this, which was the reinstatement of the previous departure path off Runway 14 to the south.

Mermaid Beach, Kingscliff, Broadbeach Waters, Miami, and Palm Beach complainants raised the issue of the changes to the realignment of approach flight paths, discussed above. Complainants in Broadbeach Waters and Mermaid Beach were newly overflown by the VOR approach, while those from northern suburbs closer to the airport were affected by the RNAV approach being moved closer to the coast.

April - June 2016

Issues

70 complainants raised issues in quarter two of 2016. This is a significant decrease from quarter one (175) and is primarily due to the announcement that the southern departures trial flight path would not be made permanent.

For the year to date there have been 245 “unique” complainants, that is, NCIS has been contacted by 222 individuals.

Two issues were raised more frequently than others this quarter:

  • Change of, different, or location of flight path
  • Increased frequency

Change of, different or location of flight path

31 complainants were concerned that the flight path was located over their area, or felt that the flight path had changed, or was different from usual.

The southern departure flight path from Runway 14 reverted to the pre-trial flight path on 23 June 2016. Some complainants contacted us prior to this because they had heard the flight path had already changed and wanted to complain that they weren’t noticing a difference. Others contacted us after the change to complain that it had made no difference. Most of the latter complainants were from Banora Point, a suburb affected by the pre-trial, trial and post-trial flight paths due to its proximity to the airport.

Chart 1: Breakdown of change of, different, or location of flight path issue
YBCG is the code for Gold Coast Airport. 14 and 32 are runway directions.

Flight path issue

Increased frequency

13 complainants raised the issue of an increase in frequency of aircraft over their location. The prevailing wind tends to be southerly, requiring use of Runway 14.This is reflected in these complainants’ issues which were primarily concerned with either arriving or departing aircraft off Runway 14.

Chart 2: Breakdown of increased frequency issue
YBCG is the code for Gold Coast Airport. 14 and 32 are runway directions.

Increased frequency

Suburbs

In quarter two there were three suburbs with five or more complainants; Banora Point with 15 complainants and Fingal Head and Kingscliff with six complainants each. All these suburbs are south of the airport.

Banora Point is overflown by departures going to southern destinations off Runway 14, as well as arrivals on to Runway 32. The majority of complainants raised issues about departing aircraft off Runway 14, including increased frequency and perceived low height of some aircraft.

Kingscliff is overflown primarily by arrivals on to Runway 32 from two arrival flight paths. Complainants raised issues to do with these flight paths, including perceptions that there had been a change or a view that the flight paths should be situated elsewhere.

Fingal Head is overflown by three to ten departing jet aircraft a day when Runway 14 is used. These aircraft are bound for eastern or northern destinations after departing Runway 14. There is also some lower level coastal traffic. Complainants raised issues regarding the departing aircraft as well as helicopter flights.

January - March 2016

Issues

There were 175 complainants in the first quarter. Two issues were raised more frequently than others:

  • Runway 14 southern departures trial with 103 complainants raising this issue
  • Runway Selection with 22 complainants raising this issue

Runway 14 southern departures trial

The trial change to the departure flight path off Runway 14 to destinations to the south aimed to reduce aircraft noise to residents to the south of the airport by maximising jet aircraft tracking over the Banora Point Golf Course. More info about the trial – see Gold Coast southern departures reinstatement

Of 103 complainants raising the trial, 84 were against it. All the complainants were from south of the airport. From Banora Point there were 71 complainants against the trial and six supporting the trial. Banora Point is overflown by both the trial departure route and pre-existing departure route.

Airservices considered the trial did not achieve the intended noise reductions and it was cancelled however due to necessary regulatory approvals and procedure design the trial flight path remained in place until June 2016.

Chart 1: Breakdown of southern departure trial issue
Southern departure trial issue

Runway Selection

22 complainants raised the issue of runway selection, with equal numbers concerned about Runway 32 arrivals from the south and Runway 14 departures to the south. There were only two complainants from north of the airport, with the rest from south of the airport.

Chart 2: Breakdown of runway selection issue

YBCG is the code for Gold Coast Airport. 14 and 32 are runway directions.
Runway selection issue

Suburbs

There were five suburbs with five or more complainants: Banora Point (101 complainants), Kingscliff (9 complainants), Terranora (8 complainants), and Tweed Heads and Tweed Heads South (6 complainants each).

All these suburbs are to the south of the airport with Banora Point and Tweed Heads South being overflown by the southern departures trial route, and this issue was raised by the majority of complainants in these suburbs. Terranora complainants also raised the issue of the trial. The majority of complainants in all these suburbs were against the trial flight path.

Most complainants in Tweed Heads raised the issue of a commercial jet aircraft that turned early towards the east on departure from Runway 14. The airline was contacted by Airservices Australia regarding this issue.

Kingscliff is under an approach path for Runway 32 and most complainants in Kingscliff raised the issue of the altitude of the arriving aircraft, stating the aircraft seemed to be lower. Investigations found no difference in altitude. Complainants frequently feel that larger aircraft are lower, however this is usually a misperception stemming from the way our brains process information about size, and not because of an actual difference in altitude.