Aircraft noise is collectively managed by governments, aircraft manufacturers, airline carriers and airline operators.
There are four ways that aircraft noise is managed:
- Reduction of noise at the source through aircraft technology improvements.
- Compatible land-use planning. This involves directing incompatible land use (such as homes, schools, etc.) away from the airport environment/flight paths and to encourage compatible land use (such as industrial, commercial uses, etc.) in these areas. Land use controls for the area around Melbourne Airport were implemented by the State Government in 1992. The purpose of these controls is to ensure the efficient operation of Melbourne Airport, both now and in the future, is adversely affected by inappropriate developments (such as homes, schools, hospitals). Details of land use planning controls can be found here.
- Noise abatement procedures. The size and shape of noise contours around an airport are influenced by both inflight and ground-based operational procedures. The airport works together with Airservices and airlines to implement a range of procedures to minimise the number of people affected by aircraft noise. An example includes directing aircrafts to utilise flight paths that pass over semi-rural areas during the evening, or spreading the use of all available flight paths to lessen the intensity of aircraft noise.
- Aircraft operating restrictions. This is when an aircraft is given reduced aircraft access to the airport, such as prohibiting or imposing other restrictions around noisy aircraft.
Organisations working in noise management
Airservices is a government-owned corporation providing safe, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry. Airservices plays an important role in managing noise.
Its role involves:
- Ensuring that flight departures and arrivals are designed to minimise noise impacts on communities around airports
- Providing information about aircraft noise
- Monitoring aircraft noise around major airports
- Providing a national Noise Complaints and Information Service
Aircraft Noise Ombudsman
The Aircraft Noise Ombudsman oversees the handling of aircraft noise enquiries and complaints, conducts independent reviews of noise complaints handling, and makes recommendations for improvements when necessary.
Noise Abatement Committee
This committee is chaired by Melbourne Airport and consists of representatives from Airservices, airlines, State EPA, Australian Government Planning, Transport and Local Infrastructure and local councils. The Committee’s role is to review the impact of aircraft noise exposure on the surrounding community and, in a consultative manner, makes recommendations to minimise the effect of aircraft noise. See more information about the Noise Abatement Committee.
Community Aviation Consultation Group
This group provides the opportunity for community members, Government and industry to raise issues and express opinions regarding Melbourne Airport, particularly with regard to planning, development and operations. See more information about the CACG.
Melbourne Airport noise resources
Melbourne Airport has designed an interactive tool to help people assess the forecast impact of aircraft noise where they live both now and in the future. See the noise tool here.
Measuring aircraft noise
The Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) system has been used by airports for more than thirty years as the primary measure of aircraft noise in and around airports. The ANEF takes into account the expected number of movements, types of aircraft and their noise, performance characteristics, flight paths, and the distribution of traffic by time period of arrivals and departures.
The Commonwealth Government, with the support of State Government and industry, has agreed to implement a supplementary noise metric known as the N contour system. This includes a measurement system based on the number of aircraft noise events per day exceeding 70, 65 or 60 decibels. These noise contours are included in the 2013 Master Plan and available in the Melbourne Airport Noise Tool.
We will continue to work with Airservices Australia and our airlines to limit noise impacts where possible. This includes noise abatement procedures, engine run up restrictions and preferred runways or flight paths.