Group slams flight re­port

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

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.

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