IF the Perth Airport new runway website, community meetings and hotline have not covered all aspects of the $520 million project, staff at the Airport Experience Centre are there to answer questions face-to-face.
There is in fact so much information on the online portals alone, that one would be forgiven for feeling inundated with a surplus of information.
Recognising the scale of the project, and its effect on Eastern and Perth Hills residents, the Perth Airport team put together a visual display of projected flight path scenarios and potential noise affected areas, at the experience centre and at more than 30 public meetings and events.
Perth Airport chief executive Kevin Brown answered questions from Echo News at the Center on Tuesday.
“We appreciate this is a new project, people will be concerned about it and they just want to know what it means for them,” Mr Brown said.
With community consultation in its fifth week, Mr Brown said only a small number of people had so far expressed concern with the project.
“There are a minority of people that are concerned with the noise and noise seems to be the key issue,” he said.
All concerns and suggestions from public submissions received before August 24 are considered and tabled as part of the new runway approvals to be presented to the Federal Government.
A popular noise mitigation approach suggested eliminating the airport’s 24-hour flight schedule.
“The fly-in fly-out schedule, 5am to 7am in the morning, is 24 per cent of our customer base.
“It’s really essential for the exploration and mining industry, which is the backbone of our economy.
“Interstate nightly services operate ‘back of clock’, that allows people to come home late at night who are working east and head east early for work in the morning.”
Red eye flights also provide for cheaper airfares.
“And then there’s the international flights that operate between 10pm and 2am… those spots are pre-determined by other international airports to make sure they match with other flights,” he said.
An elimination of 24-hour operation would see a loss of $36 billion to the State’s economy and a loss of about 46,000 jobs across the State by 2040, according to an independent report.
“If someone suggests there be no flights between midnight and 6am it impacts the three cornerstones of the business and the ability for the state to operate internationally and domestically, interstate and nationally,” he said.
“It really doesn’t work if it’s not a 24-7 operation.”
The airport’s project summary and flight corridor and aircraft noise summary present an overview of proposed changes to flight corridors and aircraft noise exposure.
The summary says that the changes, as well as future air traffic growth, will alter the pattern of aircraft noise exposure, resulting in reduced noise exposure in some areas, higher noise exposure in others and some areas newly exposed to aircraft noise.
The proposed changes are only concept designs, the final flight path design will not start until about three years out from the day of opening.
The new runway is expected to be completed between 2023 and 2028.
Find more noise information at www.newrunway.com.au or on 1800 639 799.
By Claire Ottaviano