Group slams flight report
A REPORT dismissing noise complaints during the controversial flight path trial is being rubbished by residents.
The year-long SMART flight path trial was lead by Auckland Airport, Airways NZ and the Board of Airline Representatives NZ (BARNZ).
Aircraft on the trial tested three shorter routes when arriving at Auckland Airport between November 2012 to October 2013.
Residents say noise increased over parts of Royal Oak, Onehunga and Epsom as a result.
But a new report by the airport bodies says the extra noise created was not significant and ‘‘only just perceptible to the human ear’’.
The group Auckland: The Plane Truth has labelled the report ‘‘rubbish’’.
Spokeswoman Lorraine Clark of Royal Oak says the report does not give evidence to back up claims that the trial resulted in less noise. Residents still feel they have been ignored, she says.
BARNZ executive director John Beckett says the new flight routes are likely to continue early next year.
They result in fewer miles flown, a reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emissions, he says.
The trial will resume on condition that aircraft will fly 800 feet higher than earlier trial limits of 4000ft and at a higher permitted speed.
Beckett says airlines agree 10 to 15 per cent of aircraft flying over central Auckland are ‘‘lower than desirable’’.
But these flights are not part of the SMART trial, he says. A proposal has been put forward to phase the lower paths out in September.
Larger aircraft models like A320s and 737s will be the first to stop using the lower paths.
Narrow aircraft including A380s and 777 models will move on a year later, if the proposal goes ahead.
Beckett says an ‘‘arrivals manager’’ system was put in place in April last year. It forces aircraft to stay on the ground at their point of origin if runway space at Auckland Airport is not available for their arrival time.
This reduces time in the air and noise, he says.
If aircraft travelled at 5000ft it would be difficult gliding into the airport, Beckett says. Noisy speed brakes would have to be used.
The proposed 4800ft altitude is steeper but means aircraft can glide in and reduce their use of speed brakes, he says.
Night flights are kept out over the water before coming in to land, to avoid disturbing residents.
Auckland Airport will have the final say, but it needs the other bodies to agree.
Beckett says the organisation needs to concentrate on the majority of residents, who do not have an issue with aircraft noise.
Too noisy: Members of the protest group Auckland: The Plane Truth, which is opposed to the SMART flight path trial.