There are four main mechanisms used to manage and minimise the noise generated by aircraft approaching or departing from Melbourne Airport:
1. Control of flight paths
Airservices Australia is responsible for management and control of the flight paths used by aircraft approaching and departing from Melbourne Airport. Aircraft operating at Melbourne Airport do so in accordance with International and National legislation and procedures designed to minimise noise impact. Specific noise abatement procedures are published that require conformance from pilots and air traffic controllers.
In most cases aircraft fly approved flight paths that have been assessed for their noise impact. Changes to these flight paths require consultation with government, councils and residents. Where possible, flight paths will be constructed to follow areas of vacant land, industrial estates or limited residential development. When close to the airport there is less scope for a designer to be able to move flight paths away from the main runways.
At Melbourne there are two (2) runways that can be used in either direction. Due to predominate weather, arrivals from the West and departures to the East (i.e. use of Runway 09) is quite rare and in fact less than 1% of total movements. Use of the other runways is dictated by Noise Abatement Procedures for preferred runways. In essence this means utilising departures to the North through vacant land as much as possible.
Although there are plans for noise minimisation there are circumstances which preclude the use of the preferred procedures:
- Safety - at any time that safety of an aircraft may be compromised the resolution of this circumstance will take precedence over any procedures including noise abatement.
- Weather - aircraft do require the most in to wind runway. If the wind is too strong they may not be able to use the preferred noise abatement runway. In times of bad weather (e.g. thunderstorms) aircraft may have to fly off the preferred flight paths.
- Heat - during summer there may be days when the climb performance of an aircraft is affected. On hot days aircraft tend to use more power for take-off and climb at a slower rate increasing noise exposure.
- Maintenance - runways, like roads, require regular maintenance. During these times there can be increases in aircraft from other runway over affected suburds. If deemed to be a significant outage, Melbourne Airport will communicate the outage to councils and possibly through local papers.
Melbourne Airport and Airservices Australia actively work on minimising noise exposure to as many residents as possible. Many of the noisier aircraft have been phased out in the last two years. New technologies, being implemented by Airservices Australia, will allow more precise tracking over industrial estates and vacant land.
For more information see the following links
- Airservices WebTrak
- Airservices Monitoring Aircraft Noise
- Airservices Fact sheets and airport information
2. Monitoring of noise complaints
Noise complaints are received by Airservices on its 24-hour number, 1300 302 240 or online via the website. Complaints are monitored on a monthly basis to determine whether there are any particular trends or issues evident, or whether any aircraft have operated outside its assigned tracks or altitude. If this is the case, appropriate investigations are initiated and corrective action taken where applicable.
An Aircraft Noise Ombudsmen has been established in response to the National Aviation Policy White Paper released by the Australian Government in December 2009. To contact the Aircraft Noise Ombudsmen please see www.ano.gov.au.
3. Noise Abatement Committee
The Noise Abatement Committee is chaired by Melbourne Airport and consists of representatives from Airservices Australia, the major airlines, State EPA, Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, local councils around Melbourne Airport and the operator of Melbourne Airport.
The Committee's role is to review the impact of aircraft noise exposure on the surrounding community and, in a consultative manner, make recommendations to minimise the effect of aircraft noise. The Committee meets on a quarterly basis.
Click below to view the minutes from the most recent Melbourne Airport Noise Abatement Committee meetings:
February 2013 NAC minutes
November 2012 NAC minutes
August 2012 NAC minutes
May 2012 NAC minutes
February 2012 NAC minutes
November 2011 NAC minutes
August 2011 NAC minutes
May 2011 NAC minutes
February 2011 NAC minutes
November 2010 NAC minutes
4. Land use controls
Land use controls for the areas around Melbourne Airport were implemented by the State Government in 1992. The purpose of these controls is to ensure that the efficient operation of Melbourne Airport, both now and in the future, is not adversely affected by inappropriate development (houses, schools, hospitals and the like) in the noise-affected areas surrounding the Airport.
The controls are concerned with incompatible land use development around the Airport and are based on the 2003 Australian Noise Exposure Forecasts. For details view the Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (PDF 1.73MB)
Details of land use planning controls can be found on the Land Services website.
For further information about aircraft noise issues relating to Melbourne Airport see here
Melbourne Airport Noise Resources:
Melbourne Airport has designed an interactive tool to help people assess the forecast impact of aircraft noise where they live both now (Master Plan 2008) and the proposed future (Master Plan 2013).
Melbourne Airport Noise Tool
Fact sheet - Melbourne Airport and Aircraft Noise
Fact sheet - Growing With Melbourne: Third Runway
Fact sheet - How Melbourne Airport Operates
Preliminary draft Master Plan 2013
Melbourne Airport is currently developing it's 2013 Master Plan. Section 12 discusses airport safeguarding and noise.
Preliminary Draft Master Plan: Section 12 - Airport Safeguarding Strategy
Commonwealth of Australia, (Dec 2000) National Aviation Policy, White Paper - Chapter 14.
Commonwealth of Australia (2003) Guidance material for selecting and providing aircraft noise information
Commonwealth of Australia (March 2000) Expanding ways to describe and assess aircraft noise - discussion paper
Commonwealth of Australia, (December 2009), Going beyond noise contours - discussion paper
Commonwealth of Australia (June 2009), Safeguarding for airports and communities around them