Submission to the Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP)

To: The Department of Transport and Regional Development

Date: 12th March, 1997

Re: Draft Long Term Operating Plan for Sydney Airport - SUBMISSION.


FRAAN has come to a point where we feel considerable concern and alarm at the method in which the whole airport/aircraft issue in Sydney is being handled.

We were shocked to learn that the long term operating plan was available for view at almost all Sydney libraries, apart from any within the Fairfield municipality.

We were likewise frustrated to find that we had to travel to the Sutherland Cronulla Leagues Club on 17th November, 1997, to be able to participate in a public consultation meeting of the Sydney Airport Community Forum. We note that meetings were held in the North side of Sydney City, in the Sydney City itself, and to the South of the city, but that none had been offered for the Western Suburbs.

At that meeting at Cronulla, we asked for a meeting in the Western suburbs, and were told by Mr. Hockey that one would be held as soon as a suitable venue was found. There were never any meetings held at all in the Western Suburbs of Sydney.

FRAAN is extremely concerned by this, since we note that there are flight tracks over the Western Suburbs in virtually every operational mode proposed. As witnessed by the attached radar flight track of a very recent aircraft overflight of Fairfield, there are low level flights over our heads. (We would care to note that we consider this particular flight track to be somewhat inaccurate in its indication of height, and feel that this particular aircraft was lower than indicated on this flight track.)

As can be seen by the attached flight track (marked "A"), the particular aircraft in question appears to have flown in to Sydney KSA airport, having flown over (it seems) as many people as possible. We do not feel that the current operating plan for Sydney does a great deal to alleviate this problem, rather, it works towards involving even more people within the "aircraft overflight" problem that already exists. The second flight track attached (marked "B") indicates a similar scenario, only this time in a departure mode. FRAAN feels that in either of these instances, the need to overfly such large areas of population could have been entirely alleviated by tracking the aircraft into KSA by an over sea route. We point out, that on both occasions, the weather was fine, and with no appreciably strong wind condition. It does appear that the western suburbs have been "tested" with an early trial of the KSA operating plans, prior to their being made fully operational.

We do not see why it should be necessary to fly aircraft in a southerly direction after take off (as in many of the proposed flight tracks) and then turn them in a westerly direction to fly eventually north over the roofs of the greater part of built up Sydney. We do not see why these aircraft should not be able (with a modicum of judicious planning) to turn to the east, and thence head north over sea, possibly cutting back over land at a point where there is a far less densely populated corridor of land to the north of Sydney, and with aircraft at a considerably increased height. As can be seen on the attached flight track "B" the aircraft is still in a mode of considerable assent as it flew over the outer western suburbs. We believe this to be a fairly frequent occurrence.

Flying over water and away from built up suburban areas must also count, at least in some degree, to alleviating any pollution fall out over the roofs of people’s houses, reducing air pollution build up, and ground based pollution, within the Sydney basin, and considerably reduce the risk in the event of an aircraft emergency, of a need to dump fuel over houses and people.

The notion of an aircraft crashing is one that is hard to bear, however we recognise that this could be a reality at some point in our future, and must be accounted for seriously in planning strategies. The severity of damage to people and property would at least be far less catastrophic if any crash or other emergency were to be over sea, rather than into suburban areas, or into any of the vital infrastructure that these aircraft will be flying over, in the event of these inland flight tracks becoming operational and the norm.

We recognise that there must necessarily be occasions where aircraft must fly inland and over people, but ask that this situation be reduced as far as humanly possible. Far more than indicated by the current proposed flight tracks. FRAAN feels that every effort must be made to formulate flight tracks that take advantage of any ability to fly over water whenever, and wherever possible.

We also find it difficult to see how these operational plans can be considered "long term" given that the Dept. of Transport and Regional Development is considering placing a second Sydney airport within the Sydney Basin. Knowing Badgerys Creek as we do, we feel that there would need to be provision made for within curfew hours operations for KSA, given that the Badgerys Creek area suffers from a high incidence of fog, and that aircraft unable to land there at night time would necessarily have to land elsewhere; probably KSA. We also feel that since the issue of placement of a Second Sydney Airport has not been resolved, and airspace management for KSA will be realistically impossible to bring to a reasonable conclusion, until such time as this issue is resolved. We also feel, that as with any operational procedure, there will always be scope for improvement, and that any such procedure should not be viewed as "long term" but rather, as a base, and also as an interim device, with wide allowance for improvement, and that this should always be regarded as the goal.

At this juncture, we point out that we are completely opposed to a Second Sydney Airport anywhere within the Sydney Basin and Airshed, on the basis that it’s impact on our water and particularly air quality is unacceptable. The notion of foisting a massive aircraft noise problem onto new communities within Sydney, and particularly communities that have been constructed so as to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, with houses that have been constructed so that they are poorly equipped to curb loud noise levels, in a previously low noise environment, is paramount to a totally unconscionable and unacceptable decision.

The Sydney basin is in the grip of an air quality crisis, which can easily be escalated massively with irresponsible planning strategies. Sydney has a geographic basis similar to other cities such as Athens, Tokyo and Los Angeles, namely geographic "basins" hemmed in by mountains which work to effectively entrap air within that basin. These other basin cities noted, have air quality and human ill health problems of horrific proportions, and must be a lesson to us as to what not to do. We must not allow this situation to be replicated in the Sydney basin, particularly after having been shown how bad this problem can become, by clear example.

We point out that the Departments’ own released information indicates an escalation of air traffic of considerable size. If this increase were to be focussed on any airport within the Sydney Basin, then it must considerably increase the risks associated with aircraft flight, and can only work to drastically exacerbate the air quality problem that already exists. This city and its planners must move away from constant talk of the severity of the problem, and move towards pro-active, intelligent, lateral and workable solutions to this problem. FRAAN considers that any Second Sydney Airport should be constructed outside the Sydney Basin and Airshed.

We ask if you would please acknowledge receipt of this submission.

P.J. Cork

Chairman: F.R.A.A.N..