The Greens have pushed the Minister to agree to direct Airservices Australia to operate both runways at Brisbane Airport over the water at once when safe to do so, subject to approval from the Airspace Advisory Board.
The Minister’s direction will mean changing the way Brisbane Airport operates, so that the airport must utilise its ‘SODPROPs’ mode whenever it is safe to do so. SODPROPs stands for ‘Simultaneous Opposite Direction Parallel Runway Operations’ and means that wherever possible, one runway is used for departures over water and the other runway for arrivals over water, rather than over the homes of Brisbane residents.
The change is expected to see a significant increase in flights taking off and landing over the water. The New Parallel Runway was approved and sold to Brisbane residents with the commitment that SODPROPs would be the preferred operating mode at all hours, but this commitment was quietly dropped in 2018 for daytime operations without explanation or community consultation.
The concession follows a growing community campaign, supported by the Greens, which has included a thousand-strong protest outside Brisbane Airport Corporation Headquarters earlier this year, and the recent introduction of the Greens flight noise bill to parliament calling on a cap on flights, night-time curfew, and more flights over the water.
SODPROPs mode is not always possible, particularly where weather conditions make it unsafe. But the commitment secured under Greens pressure will mean the Government must report clearly to the community on the share of flights going over the water. On occasions where SODPROPS can’t be used, the Government must report on the reasons why, allowing the Brisbane community to hold the airport to account for these decisions.
Lines attributable to Elizabeth Watson-Brown, MP for Ryan and Greens spokesperson for Infrastructure, Transport and Sustainable Cities:
"The Greens have secured a significant concession from the Federal Government that could see hundreds fewer flights take off and land over Brisbane residents and instead fly over the water.
“Given SODPROPs was the original preferred operating mode from Brisbane Airport's new runway, we see no reason why the AAB won't sign off on this proposal that will deliver immediate relief for thousands of people across Brisbane.
"This concession is a result of not just Greens pressure, but campaigning from thousands of Brisbane residents who have stood up and fought against the greed of Brisbane Airport Corporation.
“The community and the Greens will keep up the pressure to make sure more flights depart over the water and ultimately to secure a flight cap and curfew that would deliver long-term relief for Brisbane residents.”
Lines attributable to Max Chandler-Mather, MP for Griffith
"Once implemented this concession won by the Greens could see the biggest reduction in flight noise since the opening of the second runway.
"While we’re pleased to have secured a potentially major improvement in flight noise, the Greens won’t rest until we’ve won a curfew and cap on flights, because Brisbane deserves the same protections as Sydney."
Lines attributable to Stephen Bates, MP for Brisbane
“The cracks in the Government’s position against action on flight noise are starting to show. This is only because the Greens and the community have been working together to demand better.
"Sydney residents secured a cap and a curfew with support from local, state, and federal representatives. This is a significant concession from the Federal government, and it shows that our pressure is working.
“Impacted residents will hold every level of government accountable until our city is delivered the same protections."