Pilot at odds with airport’s stance
An airline pilot who regularly flies into Auckland Airport has slammed new runway approaches being trialled to find ways of reducing emissions and noise.
The airport says it is testing the new approaches so aircraft fly fewer miles, reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, and improve noise management for communities living close to the airport, Central Leader, May 3.
An online information sheet on the changes says the tracks of the new approaches to Auckland Airport were designed to maximise highly accurate satellite based navigation to fly over industrial and light industrial areas and the Manukau Harbour.
Residents in Epsom and other suburbs have noticed an increase in aircraft noise and are worried about the possible implications on their properties and lifestyles if the new approaches become permanent.
The Epsom-based pilot, who asked not to be named, claims the airport is being ‘‘partial with the truth’’ when it says the new approach is not going over residential areas.
‘‘As an airline pilot who has flown this approach several times I am well aware of the flight path that the approach takes and it is not over the water and industrial areas as stated,’’ he says.
Using Google Maps he says he roughly tracked the co-ordinates of the new approach to see where they fly over.
He found it is not surprising people are complaining about new noise.
He says planes approaching from the west travel over the corner of Louvain Ave and Mons Ave in the Mr Roskill area, then head approximately east along Torrance St, then in a straight line to the intersection of Moata Rd and Ngatiawa St in Onehunga.
From there the approach curves around to the final stretch to the runway.
‘‘Due to the way the approach is designed the aircraft require to be at a low speed and therefore making a lot of noise, because of high drag configuration, especially as they fly over Epsom and One Tree Hill Domain.’’
new approach will eventually become the norm for all large international flights from Asia and Australia. ‘‘It’s been introduced by stealth. ‘‘It was just two flights a day at first, it’s now opened up to quite a few. It will soon be like living in Beachlands.’’
Auckland Airport spokeswoman Katie Moore says the pilot should report his feedback through the air- port’s noise complaint process so the matter can be investigated properly.
‘‘Until a full investigation is complete we are not in a position to speculate,’’ she says.
‘‘However, at this stage, Airways New Zealand has confirmed that aside from the SMART approach trial, flight paths over Epsom have changed little over the past 10 years and there has been no change at all in the last few weeks.’’
She says one flight path passes over Epsom before slowly descending below 4000 feet east of One Tree Hill, with aircraft engines at a low power setting. It then makes a gentle banked turn over commercial and light industrial land near Highbrook and Botany Downs which is when the aircraft assumes a higher drag configuration before aligning with the runway at Auckland near Manukau.
Ms Moore declined to provide the Central Leader with copies of maps showing the new approach routes.
‘‘We have not released any detailed maps of the new SMART approaches as a significant aspect of this trial is gauging public reaction and we considered that releasing a detailed map could potentially influence this public reaction.
‘‘As this is a trial, Auckland Airport and Airways are very interested in receiving any feedback from the public.’’
Airport approach: Auckland Airport says it is testing new runway approaches so aircraft fly fewer miles, reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, and improve noise management.