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Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Auckland residents ramp up flight path fight

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland residents complaining that noise from aircraft noise has become intolerable say promised improvements to a proposed short-cut flight path do not go far enough.

They presented a list of demands at the first of two public hearings on Auckland Airport's Smart flight path for landings tested last year.

A panel of officials from the airport company, Airways Corporation and the Board of Airline Representatives are hearing 28 submissions from residents, protest groups and council local boards about a draft report on the trial.

The report recommends two key noise-dampening modifications for permanent use of the satellite-based navigation system in westerly wind conditions.

Before making a decision later this year, the airport has agreed to consider public feedback, including submissions at public hearings.

At an Ellerslie hearing yesterday, residents' campaign group The Plane Truth said it hoped the agencies could achieve objectives of fuel and carbon emission savings, through shorter approach paths.

However, this must only be done while addressing residents' concerns, said Helen Andrews, a lawyer coordinating Plane Truth submissions.

She called for permanent monitoring of noise in the Epsom, Onehunga and Royal Oak area in order to show any changed levels and impacts on residents.

The airport should also investigate the cause of residents' complaints about nuisance from departing as well as arriving aircraft, which was also a concern.

It should also open up its community consultative group, which deals with noise in the south Auckland approaches closer to the airport, to newly affected residents under the Smart flight paths.

Royal Oak resident Christine Murdoch said she was disappointed by the way the Smart trial had been "unexpectedly dumped" over a new residential area and that aircraft noise had continued.

The draft report said Smart flights had marginally higher noise levels of three decibels higher on average.

"The planes are so noisy that they wake us up most nights now and it's more than the three decibels of the average, because it's gone from having no noise to a lot and we hear each plane individually not as over an average.

"I can't imagine what it will be like when Smart paths are flying again.

"It means we have either got to put up with the noise or move."

Auckland Airport will hold a further hearing of submissions at the Fickling Centre, Three Kings, on Thursday, July 10.

Smart Flight Path Trial

3 new satellite-guided approaches to Auckland Airport tested in 2013.

25,000 fewer nautical miles flown on approaches cut fuel use and carbon exhaust.

2015 restart for approaches recommended by trial draft report.

2 key changes -- flying higher and faster over suburbs.

98 public comments on draft report, mainly about noise nuisance, to be considered by airport.

- NZ Herald

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