Com­plaints un­founded says air­port

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

New flight paths be­ing tri­alled by Auck­land Air­port are not caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant ex­tra noise to cen­tral Auck­land com­mu­ni­ties, those run­ning the tri­als say.

The flight paths – known as SMART Ap­proaches – are de­signed to im­prove the ap­proaches to the air­port so planes fly fewer miles and use less fuel.

The tri­als have sparked com­plaints from some cen­tral Auck­land res­i­dents who say the new paths bring more planes and their as­so­ci­ated noise over their for­merly quiet neigh­bour­hoods.

Peo­ple in One Tree Hill, Epsom, Mt Roskill, One­hunga and Royal Oak have told the Cen­tral Leader they have no­ticed an in­crease in air­craft noise since the year-long trial be­gan in Novem­ber last year.

But Auck­land Air­port aero­nau­ti­cal op­er­a­tions man­ager Judy Ni­choll says their re­search shows the SMART Ap­proaches have had lit­tle dis­cern­able im­pact on those neigh­bour­hoods.

She is adamant the tri­als have been con­ducted within its pa­ram­e­ters of 10 flights a day, with only three air­lines par­tic­i­pat­ing be­tween 7am and 10pm, de­spite com­plaints from many that they have been wo­ken at all hours of the day.

‘‘It’s very dif­fi­cult,’’ Ms Ni­choll says. ‘‘Peo­ple be­lieve planes are fly­ing lower but they’re not. They’re fly­ing the tracks they have been fly­ing for many years.’’

She says in the first 21 weeks of the trial the air­port re­ceived no com­plaints about the SMART ap­proaches.

Fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of an ar­ti­cle about the trial in the Cen­tral Leader on May 3 the air­port has re­ceived 111 com­plaints.

But of those only 11 re­lated to planes fly­ing in the SMART ap­proaches, with the bulk gen­er­ated by air­craft us­ing nor­mal flight paths above Auck­land.

Noise mon­i­tor­ing in Epsom and the sur­round­ing area had also shown the im­pact of SMART ap­proaches is be­tween two and four deci­bels, a dif­fer­ence cep­ti­ble to the ear’’.

A ‘‘height­ened aware­ness’’ of air­craft noise since the trial was pub­li­cised could be re­spon­si­ble, Ms Ni­choll says.

But Royal Oak man Mark Lynes is adamant that some­thing has changed in the skies above.

He has lived in the same house

‘‘only just per- for 11 years and says un­til now plane noise was min­i­mal.

Now ‘‘planes are fly­ing so low you can al­most see what the cabin crew is wear­ing’’. ‘‘Some­thing has changed.’’ Epsom woman Robyn Scott is cer­tain some­thing is dif­fer­ent.

‘‘Why is it that this time last year you nei­ther heard nor saw a plane over­head, but now 35 a day are fly­ing at heights that are in­tru­sive?’’ The trial con­cludes in Oc­to­ber. Ms Ni­choll says it would be wrong to make any as­sump­tions about the re­sults of the trial while it is still un­der way.


Air­port’ Judy Ni­choll, Auck­land

Test­ing time: New flight paths are be­ing tri­alled by Auck­land Air­port.

Adamant: Auck­land Air­port aero­nau­ti­cal op­er­a­tions man­ager Judy Ni­choll.

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