Latest Data: More Flights Have Been Directed Over Water as Part of Aircraft Noise Mitigation Measures

Recent Airservices Australia data showed a significant increase in flights being directed over the waters of Moreton Bay as part of noise mitigation measures. Aircraft noise has been the subject of complaints from impacted residents in Ascot and other suburbs under the flight path since the new runway opened in 2020.

The latest Airservices Australia showed a 35 per cent increase in SODROPS, a mode of operation that directs aircraft landing and taking off over water to reduce the impact of aircraft noise. 

“Brisbane Airport Corporation welcomes Airservices Australia data showing a rise in SODPROPS mode because it directs all flights over water and shields communities from the impact of aircraft noise, while still delivering Queensland the significant benefits travel and trade offers,” Stephen Beckett, Brisbane Airport Head of Public Affairs said.

“We look forward to an expansion of Simultaneous Opposite Direction Parallel Runway Operations as Airservices Australia methodically and safely implements the independent Trax International recommendations.”   

The SODPROPS trial has been expanded since it was launched in 2022, from between the hours of 10 pm to 6 am, it now includes Saturdays 6am-8am, 8pm-10pm and Sundays 6am-8am. 

The expansion has since resulted in a 30 per cent rise (data between 9 July and 9 November 2022) or an increase of 137 hours, compared to the numbers recorded between 9 March and 8 July 2022. That is equal to additional 799 aircraft flights directed over water instead of flying over the city. 

“The trial reflects Airservices’ commitment to improving noise outcomes for the Brisbane community, where safe and operationally feasible,” an Airservices Australia spokesperson said.

Latest Data: More Flights Have Been Directed Over Water as Part of Aircraft Noise Mitigation Measures
Photo credit:  Brisbane Airport /

Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance, however, was not as enthusiastic with the figures. They argue that whilst there was an increase in aircraft movements over the water, “there has also been a steep increase in the post-COVID recovery, which likely saw 30% more aircraft movements over the city, too.”

“…BFPCA will verify Airservices’ misleading claims once BITRE data for these time periods becomes available,” BFPCA’s statement said.

“BFPCA found that while SODPROPS for weekend use has gone up slightly, total SODPROPS movements for 24 hours have gone down. The number of planes over our homes have actually increased as well and getting back to pre-COVID levels. 

“This means we still see only 52% over the Bay for a 24 hour period since opening of the new runway or 48% operating over the city. An overall increase of 2% from when only the Legacy runway was in use.

“Airservices seems to take the view that SODPROPS is limited by environmental factors and capacity constraints. BFPCA suggests that it is the number of flight movements that should be limited by the ability to safely use SODPROPS. That is how this project was sold to the community by Brisbane Airport and Airservices.”

Airservices Australia plans to increase SODROPS mode with an increased capacity, enhanced decision-making criteria and flight path changes for daytime operations, which have a proposed completion by Q4 2023 at the year’s end.

Published 7-February-2023

Aircraft Noise Level in Ascot Ranks 4th Highest Among 55 Brisbane Suburbs

Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Did you know that Ascot has the fourth-highest aircraft noise level among 55 Brisbane suburbs based on measurements taken from uploaded recordings of a user-based, Dutch phone app? 

The latest ExPlane app report showed that the average decibel levels in Ascot is 76 based on 1,081 recordings made since 2020, when Brisbane Airport’s new flightpaths were implemented.

According to Audiology, a decibel level above 70 may be comparable to busy traffic or a vacuum cleaner and could result in permanent hearing loss when extended over a long period.

Here are the 10 suburbs with the highest plane noise levels based on uploaded recordings from ExPlane app users: 

Cannon Hill80dB84
Norman Park78dB377
Kangaroo Point76dB72
Albany Creek75dB6

Brisbane locals have been uploading aircraft noise recordings on the ExPlane app, becoming the second most active users next to the Dutch since 2020. However, the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) said that the mobile service was inaccurate. 

The ExpPlane app has been tracking aircraft noise levels from airports across the world and was created by Roelof Meijer of SchipholWatch, a group of residents in Holland who opposed the expansion of Schiphol airport.

Schiphol Airport is owned by the Royal Schiphol Group, a shareholder of the Brisbane Airport. 

The report comes after BAC issued an apology for failing to comply with its Noise Abatement Procedures when Qatar airline took off at 11:00 p.m., adversely impacting residents in Hamilton and New Farm. 

A move to permanently impose a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. has been introduced in the Parliament. However, BAC CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff is against the curfews and caps as these could affect the job security of 9,000 workers. Whilst Mr Graaff acknowledges the aircraft noise issues, he believes that curfews and caps are not the answers. 

Meanwhile, Airservices Australia, the federal aviation industry regulator, is currently trialing Noise Improvement Trials, coursing planes to take off and land in the opposite direction to reduce the noise. Final changes to the flight path will not be adopted without community consultations thus these issues will still take more time to be resolved.