Ground-based noise

Section 3.5 of the Airport Environment Strategy 2019-2024 sets out our key objectives in relation to ground-based noise, and our action plan sets out how these will be achieved. Our objectives are to:

  • Minimise and control noise associated with ground-based airport operations
  • Comply with relevant Commonwealth state noise standards

The Airports (Environment Protection) Regulations 1997 provides guidelines for ground-based noise at Sydney Airport. Noise generated by an aircraft in flight or when landing, taking off or taxiing at an airport, except in the case of aircraft ground running are addressed separately as aircraft noise.

We report ground based noise performance data in our annual Sustainability Report.

Engine ground running

Engine ground running, which is essential for effective and safe aircraft operations and maintenance, is a major source of ground-based noise at Sydney Airport and is regulated by a policy that includes a comprehensive set of operational rules designed to maintain safety levels, comply with relevant standards and practices, and minimise noise impacts in areas outside the airport site boundary.

Sydney Airport is committed to the ground running rules and to achieving minimal complaints regarding ground-based noise.

The increasing number of next-generation quieter aircraft flying to Sydney in the future is expected to reduce the need for high power engine ground runs. It is considered that this will reduce ground-based noise impacts in areas around Sydney Airport.

Over the past five years, Sydney Airport has implemented a number of measures to reduce ground-based noise. All T1 and T2 contact positions with aerobridges are now fitted with Fixed Electrical Ground Power Units (FEGPU); gates at T1 are also fitted with Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA). The FEGPU are a quieter alternative to Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) which are a known source of ground-based aircraft noise.

Ground-based noise assessments

Ground-based noise from new developments at the airport are assessed for noise impacts on an individual basis at the planning stage of each development. Sydney Airport intends to build on its existing management strategy by investigating the potential to include cumulative ground-based noise sources as part of future ground-based noise assessments.

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Ground-based noise monitoring

Noise monitoring and modelling for individual development and construction projects is undertaken where necessary.

In recent years Sydney Airport has completed updated noise monitoring in residential areas surrounding the airport site which will be used to provide a baseline for future noise assessments.

Residential areas surrounding the airport

The encroachment of residential development has the potential to reduce the criteria for ground-based noise at the airport, resulting in increased mitigation and/or a restriction on future allowable ground-based noise sources. Sydney Airport monitors residential development in areas surrounding the airport and will liaise with state and local governments to advocate for these developments to achieve nominated standards for noise insulation.

Section 3.5.5 of the Airport Environment Strategy details our five-year ground-based noise action plan.