In the air and at our airports, Australia’s safety record is the envy of the world.
Maintaining Sydney Airport’s runways and taxiways to a high standard is one important ways we ensure the airport operates safely. Just like motorways, highways and other roads, runways require essential maintenance to prevent damage from occurring and potholes from forming.
What does the project involve?
Sydney Airport will soon begin resurfacing about seven kilometres around the intersection of the main north-south and east-west runways and associated taxiways. This is equivalent to an area of 354,000 square metres, or around 70 football fields.
Resurfacing work in this particular location occurs very infrequently and typically only every 12 or so years.
The work will be carried out in two stages:
- Stage 1 of the project is expected to commence in early February 2020 and will continue for around eight weeks (subject to weather)
- Stage 2 is planned for early 2021
The work must be undertaken between 11pm and 6am and may occur seven days a week. Work must also occur during the warmer summer months, so the newly laid asphalt dries by the time passenger flights resume at 6am.
Will flights be affected by the project?
Commonwealth legislation has always allowed Air Ambulance and a limited number of small freight and general aviation flights to operate on the main north-south runway between 11pm and 6am.
While Air Ambulance flights fly to or from any destination in NSW (in response to an emergency), small freight flights are typically between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and carry time sensitive goods and/or Australia Post materials.
The resurfacing work means that, subject to approval of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, these flights can only safely use the parallel north-south runway.
Will there be a change in aircraft noise?
Temporarily using the parallel north-south runway means people living in Kurnell, La Perouse, Phillip Bay and parts of Botany may hear aircraft noise between 11pm and 6am.
Currently, these areas are only minimally affected as the flights arrive and depart using flight paths further to the west, which are further away from residential areas.
To put this in context, on average around 6 emergency Air Ambulance flights operate each night between 11pm and 6am seven days a week. We also average up to 14 small freight flights per night (almost always during the week, not on weekends) and 1 general aviation flight between these hours.
Sydney Airport apologises for the temporary noise impact associated with this essential runway safety project and I can assure you we are committed to completing the project as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on the community.