Managing noise

We're committed to reducing the impact of aircraft noise. We work closely with the community, aviation industry, and the Australian, NSW and local governments to manage these impacts.

We understand noise management is especially important in areas close to the airport and recognise aircraft noise can be a concern to people living under the flight paths across Sydney. Our operations are restricted by the Commonwealth’s Sydney Airport Curfew Act 1995 and Sydney Airport Curfew Regulations 1995.

The responsibility to manage noise impacts at Sydney Airport is shared by many organisations. As well as Sydney Airport itself, the International Civil Aircraft Organisation (ICAO), the Australian, NSW and local governments, airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers, and regulators all play important roles. We're committed to working together to effectively manage and mitigate the impacts of aircraft noise.

Aircraft and engine manufacturers have invested billions of dollars in research and development of new technologies to improve the noise performance of aircraft. Today’s aircraft are around 75% quieter. As new generation, quieter, cleaner and more fuel efficient aircraft continue to replace older models, noise impacts from individual flights to and from Sydney Airport will continue to improve.

Noise sharing is the key aim of our Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP). The LTOP describes 10 ways our runways are used, each of which results in a different combination of flight paths affecting different parts of Sydney. The LTOP takes advantage of Sydney’s coastal location and is implemented in a way that maximises the number of flights over water. Modes of runway operation are changed throughout the day, when traffic and weather conditions permit, to provide respite for residents in noise-affected areas and ensure aircraft noise is shared in areas around the airport as equitably as possible.

Recent significant achievements

In recent years, we've:

  • invested in airport infrastructure to support next generation larger, quieter aircraft, including investing close to $100 million to enlarge runway end safety areas on the east-west runway
  • provided ground power at all T1 Interntaional and T2 Domestic aerobridge gates and preconditioned air at all T1 aerobridge gates. Ground power and pre-conditioned air is provided to parked aircraft, minimising ground-based noise by reducing the need for auxiliary power units used by parked aircraft
  • supported noise sharing, which Airservices Australia achieves by implementing the Long Term Operating Plan (LTOP) for Sydney Airport.
  • engaged with the Sydney Airport Community Forum, the broader community, airlines which use the airport, and other stakeholders about relevant airport related matters including noise management.
  • supported the Australian Government’s aircraft noise insulation program to fund the insulation of 4,083 homes and 99 public buildings, and voluntarily acquire 147 residences to create a new park. All eligible properties have now been insulated
  • provided guidance to the NSW Government and councils to assist in making informed planning and development decisions in areas around the airport. We provide advice on effective and appropriate land use, planning controls and acoustic standards in relation to development or rezoning proposals and areas that are affected by inappropriate levels of aircraft noise

Future directions

We're committed to:

  • continuing to facilitate the use of next generation, quieter aircraft so forecast Australian Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) noise contours for 2033 will cover an area significantly less than the area in 1976, despite the increase in air traffic over that period
  • assessing current restrictions that limit noise sharing options to take advantage of opportunities to create more predictable periods of respite
  • further upgrading essential infrastructure to accommodate additional quieter, next generation aircraft. Works will include upgrades to taxiways and other airfield infrastructure, new gates, aerobridges and other essential terminal infrastructure, additional apron parking capacity and additional rapid exit and other taxiways to further minimise delays and facilitate more efficient use of runways.