Airservices proactively works with the airport and the community to investigate, trial and implement changes to improve aircraft noise outcomes.
Continuing growth in air traffic over Perth, particularly since 2007, has resulted in an increased noise impact for residential areas, especially those closest to the airport. Airservices has continued to closely monitor air traffic management practices over the Perth metropolitan area in order to better manage the resulting environmental impacts.
Airservices considers Perth air traffic management holistically, with a view to implementing the best overall noise outcome for the community. Any changes proposed for one section of the community are not considered in isolation to other areas, nor are changes considered that potentially reduce the efficiency of the airport, particularly runway capacity and airline on-time performance. Proposals that shift noise from one part of the community to another generally are not considered to be noise improvements unless they clearly provide a reduction in overall noise impacts.
Between 2010-2015, Airservices considered more than 30 proposed noise improvement opportunities for the greater Perth area. These proposals came from a variety of sources, such as Airservices internal analysis, the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman, aviation industry and community feedback. As a result, ten changes have been implemented, including two pertaining to Jandakot Airport. The remaining proposals were unable to be safely implemented. See the Perth noise improvement proposals document available below for detailed information about the suitability of each proposal and those that were able to be progressed.
Airservices is confident that all noise improvement opportunities have been explored. No further noise improvements are currently being considered for the Perth metropolitan area prior to a decision being made on the proposed construction of the Perth Airport parallel runway.
Investigations conducted at Perth Airport include:
Smart Tracking approach flight path
Aircraft arriving from the north and east of Perth to land on Runway 03 (southern end of the main runway) most often perform a visual turn in the vicinity of Carmel and Bickley in the Hills area. This is a standard procedure at airports and allows pilots to follow a shorter route to the airport in good weather rather than a longer 10 nautical mile (18.5km) straight-in flight path using an instrument approach.
Pilots flying visually are often required to use a stepped approach where the aircraft repeatedly descends then levels out with increased engine thrust. This generates more noise than performing a continuous descent. The introduction of a Smart Tracking (satellite-assisted navigation technology) flight path over the Hills on 17 September 2015 and moving the visual approach to follow the same corridor allowed most pilots of aircraft arriving from the eastern side of the Airport to use minimal engine power on descent to the runway.
A Post Implementation Review of this change was published in January 2017.
Preferred runway under the Noise Abatement Procedures
Perth Airport Noise Abatement Procedures are used by pilots and air traffic control to minimise the impact of aircraft noise on residential areas. The procedures nominate which runways and flight paths are preferred for arriving and departing aircraft. In May 2015 the procedures were amended to accommodate changes to the preferred runway system.
Airservices review of Perth Airport’s noise abatement procedures found the wording on runway preferences did not consistently match the operational requirement of managing the flow of aircraft to and from the airport (in the air and on the ground).
The old procedures specified that Runway 21 (arriving over Guildford) and Runway 24 (arriving over Greenmount) were equally preferred for arrivals and Runway 21 (departing over Queens Park) was the only runway preferred for departures. Arrivals to Runway 06 (over Redcliffe) and departures from Runway 24 (over Redcliffe) were least-preferred due to the close proximity of residential areas at the southern end of the cross runway.
The procedures now give equal preference to arrivals to Runway 21 (over Guildford), Runway 24 (over Greenmount) and Runway 03 (over Queens Park). For departures, equal preference is given to Runway 21 (over Queens Park), Runway 03 (over Guildford) and Runway 06 (over Greenmount). Arrivals to Runway 06 (over Redcliffe) and departures from Runway 24 (over Redcliffe) have been maintained as being least-preferred.
The Post Implementation Review of this change was completed in October 2016 after one year of operations.
Read the Post Implementation Review – Perth Preferred Runways
Read the Terms of Reference for the Post Implementation Review
Proposed night-time respite southern departure path
Airservices proposed a trial to change the flight path for some aircraft departing to the south off Runway 21 at night. The environmental assessment (based on noise modelling) indicated it would not deliver an overall noise improvement. To validate the modelled data used in the environmental assessment, in March and April 2016 Airservices conducted a six-week validation study. Noise monitors were installed at several points along the proposed flight path to obtain baseline noise readings, and then some aircraft were re-routed to use this flight path to collect actual noise level readings. This allowed a direct comparison between actual noise data collected and the modelling data that was used in the environmental assessment.
The study validated the modelling data used in the environmental assessment. As a result that flight path initiative will not be pursued further.
Eastern departures to maintain 8000 feet
Noise Abatement Procedures at Perth allow aircraft to be taken off Standard Instrument Departure (SID) procedure tracking once jets are at 5000 feet above ground level and non-jets 3000 feet except where impractical in the normal course of operation to and from the runways. This provision is primarily in place to assist the efficient management of aircraft close to the airport during peak periods.
In response to community concerns about the minimum height of aircraft over residential areas, Airservices held a trial from December 2013 to February 2014 for all aircraft flying to the east of Perth to maintain SID tracking until leaving 8000 feet except where required for operational reasons.
A Post Implementation Review of the trial was completed in December 2014. While community feedback was limited, Airservices concluded there was a noticeable benefit from the trial and that the change should be permanently implemented in Perth Airport’s Noise Abatement Procedures. This change was permanently implemented on 28 May 2015.
Roleystone - modified flight path
Airservices identified an opportunity to modify the flight path for aircraft arriving from the north to land on the southern end of the Runway 03 at Perth Airport which would move aircraft away from Bickley, Byford, Carmel, Martin and Roleystone and closer to Bickley East, Karragullen and Pickering Brook which had smaller populations.
A Post Implementation Review of the trial was published in February 2015. The review found that community feedback demonstrated a noticeable benefit had been achieved from the trial and that as a result the change should become permanently implemented. Airservices actioned this on 5 March 2015.
Moving the converging point for eastern arrivals to Runway 03
Arriving aircraft from the east that are making an instrument approach to Runway 03 (long straight-in approach to the southern end of the main runway) converged at a point near Bedfordale. Airservices proposed to move this converging point some 8-10 kilometres to the east to reduce the number of aircraft impacting the Bedfordale area. This change came into effect on 5 March 2015.
Increased use of north-west RAAF airspace
In May 2013, Airservices permanently implemented an alternative departure procedure from Perth Airport that reduces the number of aircraft flying low over north-western suburbs during the night. The permanent implementation of this procedure follows a trial that started on 27 July 2011 and was known as the ‘Keels trial’.
The new flight path allows some aircraft that previously departed late at night to the north of the airport and then turned towards the coast to make use of RAAF airspace to the north of the airport when the area is not in use by Defence. This change did not apply to all aircraft departing to the north, or change any routes for flights departing to the south.
Previously, most of these aircraft (mostly heading to destinations in the Middle East and Africa) overflew Beechboro and suburbs to the west of Beechboro at between 2500 and 4000 feet (760 to 1200 metres). The new flight path has some of these aircraft take a more northerly route and only turning after they reach 8000 feet (2400m). This additional height reduces the impact of aircraft noise on the ground. It also provides some night-time respite for residents in Beechboro and the suburbs to the west of Beechboro.
Following additional community consultation and environmental assessment, in July 2014 use of this procedure was expanded to all hours when RAAF Pearce airspace is not in use. This will continue to deliver improved noise outcomes for residents living in nearby suburbs including Beechboro, Malaga and Ballajura.
Direct tracking to Runways 21 and 24
The practice of direct tracking arrivals to Runways 21 and 24 over Stoneville and Parkerville, northeast of the airport, was addressed. “Direct tracking” involves taking an aircraft off the standard flight path and giving it a shorter route. This now only occurs when it is operationally required, for example, for traffic management reasons to ensure separation is maintained.
Information about Air Traffic Management and how airspace works is found on the Airservices Australia website here.
Community Aviation Consultation Group (CACG) meetings are independent forums where community members and organisations can raise opinions and issues. These meetings address planning and development issues as well as operational matters such as aircraft noise and provide an opportunity for communication and consultation, although may not be public forums.
Airservices attends the Perth Airport Community Forum (PACF) meetings and the Perth Airport Municipalities Group meetings to provide information to the community and assist in discussions on aviation matters.