Sunshine 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.

Overview

At Sunshine Coast Airport most complainants raise one of three issues:

  • training activities
  • helicopter activities
  • commercial passenger jet movements and flight paths

Circuit training activities by both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters affects residents in suburbs immediately adjacent to the airport such as Marcoola and Mudjimba.

Non-circuit training activities are primarily conducted by helicopters and frequently include night training.

The majority of complaints about (non-training) helicopter activities relate to emergency services operations.

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 104 individual complainants during 2019. This is a considerable increase from 49 complainants in 2018 and from 78 complainants in 2017.

There have been increased concerns in 2019 for all major issues except training compared to previous years as shown in Chart 1 below.

Chart 1: Issues and number of complainants 2017, 2018 and 2019

Chart showing issues and number of complainants 2017, 2018 and 2019

Issues

The main issues in 2019 were helicopters and general aviation.

Helicopters

In 2019, 37 percent of all complainants raised concerns with helicopter operations. Concerns included night movements, both circuit training and non-circuit training, emergency services operations, and standard operations.

Chart 2 shows that emergency services operations affected the majority of complainants concerned with helicopter activity. Many of these complainants were disturbed late at night or early morning.

Chart 2: Helicopter activity concerns

Chart showing helicopter activity concerns

Residents concerned with helicopter training, both circuit and non-circuit, were disturbed mainly in the evening or night hours, with some advising the issue was new or had recently escalated.

General aviation

This issue includes aircraft operating on standard VFR routes as well as aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace. More information on the types of airspace can be found here.

General aviation was raised by 28 percent of complainants in 2019 with the majority of complainants advising they were affected by an increase in operations over them. Two complainants from Mudjimba expressed concerns with the repeated overflight by an aircraft on particular days; the aircraft were conducting surveys of the new runway. These operations occurred on a semi-regular basis, and involved approximately 12 flights back and forth along the new runway each time.

Eleven complainants from nine suburbs raised questions on the new runway, opening in 2020. Concerns included construction activities and timetabling of these, whether the existing runway would remain open, effects on other aviation activities such as gliding, and flight path changes.

Suburbs

In 2019, 29 separate suburbs recorded complainants. Sixteen of these suburbs recorded a single complainant.

The suburbs recording the most complainants were Mudjimba with 25 complainants, Maroochydore and Marcus Beach with nine complainants each, and Marcoola and Peregian Beach with eight each.

Emergency services operations, affected all of these suburbs, while and circuit training, both fixed and rotor wing disturbed Mudjimba and Maroochydore residents.

Night movements affected the majority of Mudjimba residents. Other concerns were general aviation including airwork, and departures from Runway 18.

Maroochydore residents also raised concerns regarding general aviation, and standard flight path movements.

The majority of Marcus Beach and Peregian Beach residents raised concerns with general aviation traffic. Parachuting operations also disturbed residents of Peruvian Beach. Two residents also raised concerns with the new runway construction.

The following chart provides a comparison of the suburbs recording the most complainants in 2019 with complainant numbers in these suburbs for 2017 and 2018. There has been a general increase in complainant numbers in these suburbs except for Marcoola. These suburbs are located adjacent to or in close proximity to the airport.

There has been ongoing community discussion regarding proposed flight paths for the new runway which is expected to open in mid-2020 which may have heightened awareness of aircraft movements during 2019.

Chart 3: Suburbs with the most complainants in 2019 and comparison with 2018 and 2017

Chart showing suburbs with the most complainants in 2019 and comparison with 2018 and 2017

July - September 2019

Complainants

There were 36 complainants for quarter three 2019. This is a decrease from 39 complainants in quarter two, but an increase from 19 complainants for the corresponding period in 2018.

Although a decrease in complainants was recorded, increased concerns were registered regarding Helicopters, Night movements and Standard flight path movements.

Chart 1: Number of complainants’ comparison

Chart showing number of complainants per quarter for past four quarters

Issues

The three main issues were Night movements affecting 39 percent of complainants, Helicopter operations, affecting 33 percent, and General aviation aircraft, which concerned 17 percent of complainants.

Chart 2: Issues and number of complainants

chart showing number of complainants raising concerns with each issue

Night Movements

The majority of complainants registering concerns over night movements were from Mudjimba and were concerned with a single early departure by a turboprop aircraft prior to 6am on a Sunday morning.

Helicopters

Emergency services operations affected 83 percent of complainants under this issue. These include operations by medical, police, and fire-fighting organisations. Suburbs affected by these operations were generally along the coast and around the airport.

General aviation

Residents from four suburbs were affected by general aviation traffic. These aircraft are operating on normal routes. The residents advised the aircraft were low and /or at a time or height that disturbed them with some residents advising there had been an increase in these operations.

Suburbs

Fifteen suburbs recorded complainants during quarter three. Nine suburbs recorded a single complainant.

Mudjimba recorded the most complainants (15) and residents were affected by night movements (12), emergency services helicopters (1), and general aviation traffic (2).

Buderim recorded three complainants; all concerned with emergency services helicopters.

Marcoola also recorded three complainants. Night movements concerned two complainants and helicopter operations another.

Emergency services operations affected eight suburbs: Buderim, Doonan, Marcus Beach, Maroochydore, Mudjimba, Pacific Paradise, Peregian Springs, and Twin Waters.

April - June 2019

Complainants

There were 39 complainants for quarter two 2019. This is a significant increase from 12 complainants in quarter one, and 15 complainants for the corresponding period in 2018.

The main reasons for the increase in complainant numbers are due to increased concerns with general operations to and from the airport and emergency services operations. The suburbs with raised concerns are not newly overflown.

Chart 1: Number of complainants’ comparison

Chart showing number of complainants per quarter for last four quarters (Quarter 3 2018 to Quarter 2 2019)

Issues

The three main issues during quarter two were General aviation aircraft, which concerned 51 percent of complainants, Helicopter operations, affecting nine complainants and Circuit Training which affected five complainants.

Chart 2: Issues and number of complainants

Chart showing nmuber of complainants raising each issue of concern

General aviation traffic

The main concern to complainants was an increase in frequency. These aircraft are standard operations to and from the airport. Increased concerns could also be affected by Caloundra Airport’s runway lighting being unserviceable; training operations at night maybe transferred to the Sunshine Coast Airport.

Helicopters

Seventy eight percent of complainants under this issue were affected by emergency services operations. Emergency services operations encompass, medical, police and fire fighting activities. While Helicopter training operations have increased over the last quarter, no complainants could be attributed to these operations.

Suburbs

Sixteen suburbs recorded complainants during quarter two. Ten suburbs recorded a single complainant.

Marcus Beach recorded nine complainants, Peregian Beach, seven complainants, Castaways Beach, four complainants and three complainants were recorded at Marcoola, Maroochydore and Peregian Springs.

All of these suburbs, excepting Maroochydore, were primarily affected by general aviation operations. Emergency services operations were also a concern to Castaways Beach, Marcus Beach, Maroochydore, Peregian Beach and Peregian Springs.

January - March 2019

Complainants

There were 12 complainants for quarter one 2019, which is consistent with quarter four 2018.

Chart 1: Number of complainants’ comparison

Cart showing number of complainants per quarter for last four quarters

Issues

The two main issues in quarter one were Training affecting four complainants and Standard flight path movements with three complainants.

Training concerns were mainly regarding helicopter operations although one resident was affected by fixed wing circuit training. Runway 36 arrivals were the main concern to residents.

Emergency services operations and parachuting operations affected one resident each.

Suburbs

Seven suburbs recorded complainants in quarter one. Four suburbs recorded a single complainant.

Mudjimba recorded four complainants and Maroochydore and Mount Coolum recorded two complainants each.

Mudjimba residents were affected by helicopter operations both circuit training and emergency services. Maroochydore residents were concerned with Runway 36 arrivals and helicopter operations, while Mount Coolum was disturbed by the parachuting operation and general aviation traffic.

2018 Overview

Complainants

There were 49 individual complainants during 2018. This is a decrease from 78 complainants in 2017.

Issues

The main issues in 2018 were training and general aviation traffic. Training was raised by 45 percent of complainants and general aviation by 20 percent of complainants.

Standard flight path movements was raised by 16 percent of complainants, with 50 percent of these complainants concerned with Runway 18 operations.

Chart 1: Issues raised by five or more complainants in 2018

Chart showing issues raised by five or more complainants in 2018

Training

This issue encompasses both fixed wing and rotor wing aircraft and all types of training. Chart 2 below shows this issue broken down to types of aircraft, and the training activity with the percentage of complainants affected.

Helicopter circuit training was the main concern to residents affected by training in 2018, with the majority of affected residents in close proximity to the airport.

Chart 2: Types of training and percentage of complainants affected.

Chart showing types of training and percentage of complainants affected

General aviation

This issue includes aircraft operating on standard VFR routes as well as aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, more information on the types of airspace can be found here . Three complainants were concerned with aircraft conducting surveys over the area during 2018, while other complainants were concerned with light aircraft tracking along the coast.

Helicopter operations including training, emergency and other operations, were a concern to 45 percent of all complainants.

Suburbs

Complainants were recorded from 15 separate suburbs in 2018. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Marcoola with 14 complainants, Mudjimba with nine complainants and Buderim with five complainants.

Circuit training both fixed and rotor wing was the main concern to residents in Marcoola and Mudjimba. Marcoola is located directly to the north, east and west of the airport, while Mudjimba is located to the south-east of the airport.

Residents of Buderim, located six kilometres to the south of the airport, were affected by standard flight path movements, emergency services operations and helicopter training.

The following chart provides a comparison of the suburbs recording the most complainants in 2018 with complainant numbers in these suburbs for 2016 and 2017. There has been a general decline in complainant numbers since 2016, when a military exercise increased the number of complainants in Mudjimba.

Helicopter movements have also declined in 2018 compared to previous years. There were approximately 37 000 fewer movements in 2018 compared to 2017, and 16 800 fewer helicopter movements at the Sunshine Coast Airport in 2017, compared with 2016. See the Movements page for more information.

Chart 3: Suburbs with the most complainants in 2018 and comparison with 2017 and 2016

Chart showing suburbs with the most complainants in 2018 with a comparison to 2017 and 2016

October - December 2018

Complainants

There were 12 complainants for quarter four 2018. This is a decrease from 19 complainants in quarter three, and also a decrease from 21 complainants in quarter four 2017.

The decrease in complainant numbers is attributable to a decrease in concerns over training operations and standard flight path movements. A comparison with quarter three issues can be seen in Chart 1 below.

Chart 1: Number of complainants and issues comparison

Chart showing comparison of issues raised by complainants in quarter 3 and quarter 4

The decrease in complainant numbers in quarter four follows a similar pattern to 2017, with a higher number of complainants in quarter three and a reduction in quarter four, which can be seen in Chart 2.

Chart 2: Numbers of complainants each quarter 2017 and 2018

Chart showing comparison of complainants per quarter in 2017 and 2018

Issues

The main issue raised in quarter four 2018 was general aviation traffic. Four complainants raised this issue with two of these concerned with an early morning survey flight over the airport.

Suburbs

Complainants were recorded from eight separate suburbs in quarter four 2018.

Buderim and Mudjimba each recorded three complainants. A single complainant was recorded in six other suburbs.

Buderim is located approximately 5 nautical miles to the south of the airport. Buderim complainants were concerned with night flights.

Mudjimba is adjacent to and directly to the southeast of the airport. Complainants were concerned by a one-off early morning survey flight and also raised concerns regarding the impact of the new runway.

July - September 2018

Complainants

There were 19 complainants for quarter three 2018. This is an increase from 15 complainants in quarter two 2018, and 10 complainants in quarter one. However this is a decrease from quarter four 2017 where there 21 complainants respectively. The increase in complainant numbers is attributable to an increase in circuit training operations at the airport.

Chart 1: Number of complainant comparison

chart showing number of complaints per quarter for the past four quarters

Issues

The main issue raised in quarter three 2018 was training. There were five complainants who raised the issue of helicopter circuit training and two complainants who raised the issue of fixed wing circuit training.

Suburbs

In quarter three 2018 complainants were recorded from seven separate suburbs.

The suburbs recording the most complainants were; Mudjimba with six, followed by Marcoola with five and Mount Coolum with four complainants. The rest of the suburbs had one complainant each.

April - June 2018

Complainants

There were 15 complainants for quarter two 2018. This is an increase from 10 complaints in quarter one 2018. However this is a decrease from quarter 3 2017 and quarter 4 2017 where there were 37 and 21 complainants respectively. The increase in complainant numbers is attributable to an increase in circuit training operations at the airport.

Chart 1: Number of complainant comparison

Chart showing number of complainants per quarter for previous four quarters

Issues

The main issue raised in quarter two 2018 was Training. There were seven complainants who raised the issue of helicopter circuit training and four complainants who raised the issue of fixed wing circuit training.

Suburbs

In quarter two 2018 complainants were recorded from eight separate suburbs.

The suburb recording the most complainants was Marcoola with seven complainants. The next highest was Coolum Beach with two complainants and the rest of the suburbs had one complainant each.

January - March 2018

Complainants

There were 10 complainants for quarter one 2018. This is a decrease from 21 complainants in quarter four 2017. The decrease in complainant numbers is mostly attributed to a decrease in complaints regarding fixed wing circuit training and helicopter non circuit training operations.

Chart 1: Number of complainant comparison

Chart showing the number of complainants per quarter

Issues

The main issue raised in quarter one 2018 was Training. All Training complaints were about helicopter operations.

Suburbs

In quarter one 2018 complainants were recorded from 8 separate suburbs. The suburb recording the most complainants was Marcoola with 3 complainants. The remaining 7 suburbs had one complainant each.

2017 overview

Complainants

There were 78 individual complainants during 2017. This is a significant reduction from 155 complainants in 2016.

Issues

The main issues for complainants in 2017 were training and helicopters. These issues accounted for 65 percent of complainants.
Most complainants under the issue of standard flight path movements were concerned regarding Runway 36 arrivals.

Chart 1: Issues and number of complainants 2017

number of complainant raising each issue

Training

This issue encompasses all types of aircraft and all types of training. Therefore both fixed and rotor wing aircraft are included for both circuit training and other training. Chart 2 below shows this issue broken down to types of aircraft, the training activity and the percentage of complainants affected.
Fixed wing circuit training was the main concern to residents. However, helicopter training, including both circuit and other training was also a major concern.

Chart 2: Types of training and percentage of complainants affected.

Percentages of complainants raising each classifiaction of the issue 'Training'

When emergency services helicopter activities are included, a total of 40 percent of complainants raised issues associated with helicopters in 2017.

Suburbs

Twenty separate suburbs recorded complainants in 2017. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Marcoola with 14 complainants, Mudjimba and Twin Waters with 12 complainants, Buderim with nine complainants and Pacific Paradise with eight complainants.

Circuit training both fixed and rotor wing was the main concern to residents in Marcoola, Mudjimba, Twin Waters and Pacific Paradise.

Buderim residents were most concerned with Runway 36 arrivals and this is due to their alignment with the approach path.

Chart 3: Suburbs with the most complainants and comparison of 2017 and 2016

comparison of number of complainants from 2016 to 2017 in suburbs with the most complainants

In 2016 a military exercise increased the number of complainants in Mudjimba. Both Marcoola and Mudjimba were also affected by helicopter operations. There were approximately 16 800 fewer helicopter movements at the Sunshine Coast Airport in 2017, than there were in 2016. See the Movements page for aircraft movement numbers.

October - December 2017

Complainants

During quarter four there were 21 complainants. This is a decrease from 37 complainants in quarter three.

Chart 1: Number of complainant comparison

count of complainants per quarter

Issues and suburbs

The main issues in quarter four were:
• Training – both circuit and other training
• Helicopters

The issue of training affected ten complainants and the issue of helicopters, six complainants. These two issues accounted for 76 percent of complainants. Additionally, as can be seen in chart 2, 90 percent of complainants under the issue of training were affected by helicopter operations.

Chart 2: Training classifications and percentage of complainants raising each

percentages of complainants raising each classification of the issue 'Training'

In quarter four 12 separate suburbs recorded complainants. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Marcoola and Pacific Paradise with four complainants each.

Marcoola residents were affected by Runway 36 departures, night movements, general aviation traffic and fixed wing circuit training.

Pacific Paradise residents were affected by helicopter circuit training as shown in the chart below.

Chart 3: Helicopter operations, suburb and number of complainants affected

number of complainants per suburb affected by helicopter operations

July - September 2017

Complainants

There were 37 complainants in quarter three. This is a significant increase from 14 complainants in quarter two. This increase is attributed to fixed wing and helicopter training activities. Training activities tend to be cyclical as students move through the different stages of their courses.

There have been 61 individual complainants for the year-to-date.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Number of complainants

Issues and suburbs

Chart 2: Issues and number of complainants raising each

Issues

The main concern raised by complainants in quarter three was training activities. Many of these contacts were regarding a fixed wing aircraft undertaking circuit training for pilot endorsement on 18 and 19 September 2017. The complainants raising concerns about circuit training resided in suburbs close to the airport as shown in Chart 3.

Chart 3: Fixed wing circuit training and number of complainants per suburb

Circuit training

The number of complainants concerned about helicopter operations increased significantly in quarter three. Emergency services operations were the cause of concern to four complainants, while helicopter (non-circuit) training activities affected a further seven complainants. Chart 4 shows the suburbs of these complainants.

Chart 4: Helicopter operations and number of complainants per suburb

Helicopters

April - June 2017

Complainants

There were 14 complainants in quarter two 2017. This is consistent with quarter one. For the year-to-date there have been 27 individual complainants.

Issues

The main issues were general aviation traffic, training activities, flight path issues and aircraft conducting aerobatics.

Chart 1: Issues and number of complainants who raised them, quarter two

Issues, quarter two

Concerns about general aviation traffic were caused by aircraft involved in airwork, tracking via Visual Flight Rules tracking routes and activities outside controlled airspace (OCTA). Both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters were a concern to residents while training. Flight path issues included departures from Runway 18 and arrivals to Runway 36. Aerobatic operations concerned two complainants.

Suburbs

Nine separate suburbs recorded complainants in quarter two. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Marcoola with four complainants and Buderim and Mudjimba with two complainants each.

Marcoola residents were affected by helicopters conducting circuit training and general aviation traffic involved in airwork, this airwork also affected a resident in Mudjimba. Buderim residents were affected by both Runway 36 arrivals and Runway 18 departures. Mudjimba was also affected by fixed wing circuit training.

Chart 2: Number of complainants per suburb, quarter two

Number of complainants per suburb

January - March 2017

Complainants

There were 14 complainants in quarter one of 2017, down from 43 complainants in the fourth quarter of 2016. The decrease is due to a drop in helicopter training activities this quarter. Training courses are cyclical, commencing at different times of the year and working through a syllabus that begins with circuit training (conducted at an aerodrome – usually not Sunshine Coast Airport) and ends with night flying.

Chart 1: Number of complainants comparison

Number of complainants comparison

Issues and suburbs

The two main issues of quarter one were helicopters and training activities with four complainants each. All helicopter activities nominated by complainants were emergency services operations. The training activities complained of were all fixed wing circuit training. Complainants concerns about flight path issues were affected by jet aircraft movements and were concerned about increased frequency and the location of the flight path.

Chart 2: Issues raised, quarter one

Issues quarter 1

Seven separate suburbs recorded complainants in quarter one. The suburbs recording the most complainants were Buderim with four complainants and Mudjimba and Pacific Paradise with three complainants each.

Buderim residents were affected by military operations, Runway 36 arrivals and one complainant was requesting information on flight paths in the area. Mudjimba residents were affected by fixed wing circuit training and operations between 11pm and 6am. Complainants from Pacific Paradise were disturbed by emergency services operations.

Note that a single complainant may have two or more issues.

2016 Overview

Complainants

There were 155 individual complainants in the 2016 calendar year.

Issues and suburbs

Chart 1 shows the issues raised and the number of complainants who raised each issue.

Chart 1: Issues and the number of complainants who raised them, 2016

2016 issues

As shown in chart 1, the most-raised issue in 2016 was training. The majority of complainants raised issues associated with helicopter training, including circuit training and other forms of training including night flying. Helicopter movements not involving training are classified separately under the issue of “helicopters” and include emergency services movements, airwork and concerns about altitude.

Chart 2: Breakdown of training issues and number of complainants raising them, 2016

Training issues, 2016

Chart 3: Suburbs of complainants raising the issue of training, 2016

Suburbs affected by circuit training

Noting that an individual complainant may raise two or more issues, the suburbs recording the most complainants in 2016 were Mudjimba and Marcoola with 58 and 39 complainants respectively. Both of these suburbs were affected primarily by helicopter training.

Complainants came from a total of thirty-five suburbs in 2016. Twenty-one suburbs recorded a single complainant.

Chart 4: Suburbs with four or more complainants, 2016

Suburbs, 2016