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It’s Just Plane Noisy In The Eastern Suburbs

By Evonne Collier on August 2, 2012 in News

Photo: Grant Brooks

“Ze plane boss, ze plane…”

Who knew these would be my baby daughter’s first words to me?

I have been a stay at home mum since giving birth in December, and being woken up by planes when you’re already sleep deprived certainly wasn’t in the brochure.

Upon talking with a number of other Coogee locals, it appears this issue is well known, with some people saying that the television is paused and all conversations in the house stop while the planes fly overhead.

After hearing this, I went onto the Airservice Australia (ASA) website. The latest ASA Operational stats confirmed that the agreed (and legislated) targets are consistently missed, and quite frankly, the level of plane noise in the Eastern Suburbs is out of control.

Some of the interesting stats include the following:

• The airspace curfew between 11pm and 6am (to allow people seven hours of peaceful sleep) was broken 285 times in May. With half of those between midnight and 4am!
• The noise level maximum of 70 decibels was exceeded 57 times in Coogee and 100 times in Eastgardens in the month.
• The agreed noise sharing targets are 55% for the south (mostly over water); 17% for the north; 15% for the west; and 13% for the east. In May, the east recorded its highest plane traffic at 17%. And when you’re talking about 800 planes a day that adds up!

Call me a cynic, but the only region under the target figure is the west, recording under 3% of the plane traffic. And guess which electorate the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese presides over?

The lobby group ‘No Aircraft Noise’ told me about a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) that uses vertical guidance (APV), which, if implemented, is considered up to 8 times safer than procedures using the existing lateral guidance only. An average 14-hour flight (Sydney to LA) showed savings of 3 to 4 tonnes of fuel and 10 to 13 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Plus, it reduces the amount of aircraft noise as the shorter, curved paths allow greater flexibility in the placement of planes on non-residential paths and the plane engines can be switched to idle from the top of the descent, allowing it to ‘glide’ onto the runway.

Surely if Labor were so environmentally passionate, they would prioritise this initiative. And why hasn’t the 2010 appointed Aircraft Noise Ombudsman (ANO), Ron Brent, been given the authority to scrutinise the ASA targets and aggressively performance manage any delinquencies whilst prioritising the GNSS implementation?

Peter Garrett’s office said the Labor solution to aircraft noise was a second airport. Whilst that may be the case, they agreed it was a long-term solution (although the electoral funding information shows that Macquarie’s Sydney Airport Corporation assists with funding both Liberal and Labor campaigns to thwart this momentum).

Offering further frustration, the ANO, Mr Brent, has been quoted as saying, “One of the things I find most fascinating and enthusing about the job is the fact that it (aircraft noise) is a problem that in the end has no solution. Airport noise is here to stay.”

Also, of the 174 complaints made to the Ombudsman to March 2012, 41 weren’t reviewed and 110 were deemed “no change possible”. There’s nothing “enthusing” about that.

If you want your voice heard on the issue of aircraft noise, join the ‘Stop the Plane Noise Over Coogee’ Facebook page and download the information to send to your local MP. Plus, sign up to the ‘No Airplane Noise’ lobby group for their informative quarterly newsletters. Don’t let your voice be drowned out by the roar of yet another jet engine.


  1. I have lived in Coogee and the Eastern Suburbs my whole life. I grew up when there were alot less planes coming into Sydney airport. I now have ‘hundreds’ of planes each day coming in theback door of my house, through the kitchen, and out the front, or so it would seem sometimes. As i put in earlier, i live in Coogee, which is under the flight path, but also close to the beach, schools, CBD, shops and many other great things (including yuppie mummies complaining that their yoga meditation is disrupted by aircraft noise). If i did not want to hear planes, i would move to the central coast, or as far from an airport as i could, but seeing as though i live less than 5km from one, i expect it. stop your boody whinging, or go and live in Arncliffe and experience the real problem of aircraft noise!

    Posted by: Brett | August 7, 2012, 9:38 AM |

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  2. Stop your freaking whinging, the airport was there before you were and aircraft these days are MUCH quieter than the previous 20 years, 737-200 with JT8D pure jet engine anyone?

    Posted by: no | August 7, 2012, 11:53 AM |

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  3. The airport curfew should be abolished, just to upset yoga addicted yummy mummies with the possible added flow-on benefit (property prices in Leichhardt were at rock bottom 15 years ago due to the furore over aircraft noise) of reduced property and rental prices. The yummy mummies would hopefully sell out and move to their rightful place – The Northshore, home of the gym toned, ponytailed blonde wielding a black range rover

    Posted by: Pearlie | August 9, 2012, 11:02 PM |

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  4. For those with the harsh comments chill out. The noise in coogee and randwick is getting worse and no one is representing our community. So hats of to the author if the article to try and build some support

    Posted by: Dave | October 1, 2012, 8:45 AM |

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    • Yes too true, it’s the same with all airports in Australia. The staff that work there give them the big thumbs up while the genuine people that have to put up with vast INCREASES in noise never get heard. If airservices pay me money I MIGHT be inclined to put up with more noise like their OTHER supporters?????.

      Posted by: Grumpy Karen | December 12, 2012, 11:03 AM |

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  5. The facts are the noise is getting worse, as evidenced by the Aircraft Services reports. I think some people should focus their vitriolic sentiments on the facts and not make things personal. When did people start hating mothers (and clearly an intelligent mother) all of a sudden? Sad.

    Posted by: Soph | November 20, 2012, 4:02 PM |

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