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ACCC urges reviews of Sydney Airport curfew

Never one to be (happily) bested by Sydney, Melbourne loves to boast about having Australia’s busiest 24/7 airport - like it has much competition there...  


But even that assertion mightn’t stand for too much longer, should curfew laws at Australia’s busiest ‘non 24/7’ airport change. 


Yes, it seems the issue of the Sydney Airport curfew has risen once again (did it ever go away?), with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claiming that time limits imposed on SYD had probably made it more difficult to manage congestion at the hub. 



In a recent submission to the Productivity Commission, the ACCC urged the Federal Government to regularly review the curfew and hourly aircraft movement caps at Sydney Airport, the ABC reported


According to ACCC chairman Rod Sims, the current 11pm-6am closure of the airport impacts a lot of travellers.


"It is a serious issue at Sydney Airport as anyone flying into Sydney Airport close to 11:00 knows," he said. 


“I've certainly been on a Perth flight that was going to land in Sydney at two minutes past 11 and I got diverted to Melbourne."


In its submission, the ACCC said reviews should occur periodically to reflect “technological advances that reduce aircraft noise”, which is the main factor when considering the curfew. 


"We're just saying, things change, aircraft don't make as much noise so this is something that should be regularly reviewed rather than seeing it as a set-and-forget policy," said Mr Simms, who called management of the issue “a balancing exercise” between controlling noise and the consideration of traveller needs.



But some observers can’t see the curfew ever changing. 


"There's a point that says yes, aircraft are getting quieter but the point also says aircraft are getting larger and they're getting more frequent," said Kevin Hill from the Sydney Airport Community Forum.


“While it might be productive to take away all these things, there's millions of people in Sydney affected by aircraft noise and to increase airport noise is not an option.”


One of just four airports in Australia with a curfew, Sydney Airport also limits to 80 planes the number of aircraft that can take off or land in any hour.


As someone whose next international departure (ex-Tullamarine) departs at 4.50am, I’m on the fence about the issue. Where do you stand?


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 19 September 2018

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