Frequently Asked Questions
We have prepared a series of frequently asked questions to help our community better understand flight path changes and what the new runway will mean for them.
Why are the flight paths at Sunshine Coast Airport changing?
The new runway is oriented differently to the existing runway — it is longer and wider to accommodate wide-body aircraft.
This means changes to flight paths are necessary to achieve safe and efficient operations for the Airport and the community.
How are flight paths determined?
The new flights paths were developed by Airservices Australia and validated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), based on design concepts developed by Sunshine Coast Council.
As Australia’s air navigation service provider, Airservices is responsible for airspace management and the design of flight paths.
The airspace change and flight paths for the new runway are in alignment with the approved Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and take into account safety, efficiency, regulatory and environmental constraints.
How are flight paths approved?
CASA Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) is responsible for approving changes to airspace.
On 9 October 2019, CASA OAR provided Airservices Australia with approval for changes to airspace volumes to support operations for the new runway.
Changes to flights paths are assessed on safety, protection of the environment, efficient use of airspace, equitable access, national security, current and future needs of the Australian aviation industry, and advances in technology.
To read more about the approval process for Sunshine Coast Airport, visit Airservices’ website.
Will a new runway mean more flights?
We understand the community sentiment to grow the Airport incrementally, to help maintain the relaxed feel of the Sunshine Coast we all love.
We’ll get busier, but not too busy.
We currently have 13 commercial aircraft taking off per day and we’re planning for these movements to increase to around 24 by 2040.
For comparison, Brisbane Airport had 191,135 commercial aircraft movements in FY2018. This equates to approximately 522 daily movements, or 261 aircraft taking off and landing each day.
We also anticipate helicopter movements will significantly decrease from 43,474 in FY2018 to approximately 9,000.
What benefits will the new runway bring?
The new runway will significantly enhance the capacity of Sunshine Coast Airport, opening new doors for passenger travel, local exports and the promotion of local tourism growth.
The new runway will be safer, provide greater capacity, and have a higher usability than the existing runway. It will cater for all current aviation users of the Airport and accommodate wide-body passenger aircraft, enabling capacity for long-haul flights to reach new domestic and international destinations.
Accommodating wide-body aircraft also means we can better support agribusiness by providing improved air freight capacity for local producers to export their goods to more markets. High-value, low-volume exports will dispatch from the Airport as belly freight.
We’re committed to working hard to make sure we can support the economic aspirations of the region while being sensitive to the needs of our community.
What changes can we expect?
The change in flight path will result in far fewer people experiencing aircraft noise compared to what is currently experienced by households in the Sunshine Coast region. A change in the runway’s orientation will however, mean changes for some people in our community.
New flight paths at Sunshine Coast Airport have been designed to optimally align with prevailing wind conditions when taking off and landing on the new runway.
It is proposed all aircraft will use the new runway once complete, arriving over land from the north-west and departing over the ocean to the south-east.
These means residents in communities including Doonan, Cooroy and Verrierdale may be exposed to some aircraft noise as a result of the new runway.
How will noise be managed at Sunshine Coast Airport?
We remain committed to working collaboratively with government, industry and the community to manage aircraft noise.
We have a number of measures in place to help us balance both community and operational needs to ensure the Airport’s growth is appropriate and sensitive to our community.
Our Fly Neighbourly Policy aims to limit general aviation activity between the hours of 10.00pm and 7.00am.
We also have mandatory noise abatement procedures for large commercial passenger plans, meaning airlines must receive Airport approval to take-off or land between the hours of 11.00pm and 5.30pm. Permission is only granted a few times each year due to poor weather, engineering issues or other unplanned factors.
When the new runway is in use, what will I hear?
Aircraft noise is influenced by a number of different factors and the level of noise you hear from an aircraft during take off, landing and during flight can vary.
Learn more about aircraft noise here.