Greens call aircraft noise reduction trial a ‘sham’, call for new trial


Under questioning from Greens Senator Janet Rice, Airservices Australia have admitted their full runway trial to reduce noise over Brisbane residents was a sham.

Officials admitted that height markers used by pilots to calculate their climb trajectory were not increased during the trial, meaning that they had no reason to climb higher than they normally would, and this explains the lack of a noticeable difference in noise.

The trial involved the use of the full runway for all flights over the city, as opposed to standard practice where many flights begin takeoff already partway down the runway (known as an “intersection departure”). This allows more thrust to be used at takeoff and therefore a steeper climb, meaning aircraft are at a higher altitude when flying over residential areas.

The Greens have written to ASA requesting an explanation and new trial.

The Estimates transcript can be found here.

Lines attributable to Elizabeth Watson-Brown, Greens spokesperson for Transport, Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities:

“This confirms what we already suspected - the full runway trial at Brisbane Airport was set up to fail by Airservices Australia.

“Once again we’re seeing the absolute failure of Airservices Australia to put any meaningful effort into reducing noise over Brisbane residents’ homes.

“Given the whole point of the trial was to increase the height of the aircraft over the city, it is pure negligence to not increase the height markers.

“Airservices Australia should immediately order a new trial with increased height markers.

“Flight noise has disrupted Brisbane residents’ lives, and their physical and mental health, especially since the introduction of the new parallel runway in 2020. The least that government agencies like Airservices Australia can do is run these noise improvement trials properly.”