Residents in Western Sydney react after long-awaited flight paths are revealed
ICAC finds former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian engaged in corrupt conduct
Blue Mountains residents say the new 24-hour Western Sydney airport flight paths are a "nightmare scenario" and they feel they are being treated unfairly.
After years of waiting, preliminary flight paths for the new international airport were released yesterday.
While some will be relieved, others now have a more definitive idea of how the plane noise will affect them.
A flight noise tool allows residents to check their address for the number of aircraft that will fly over their property, and the intensity of the noise.
Blaxland resident Marie Sitter said when the new airport opened in late 2026, it was "going to be hell on earth", with night-time noise the greatest concern.
"At night, it's absolutely quiet. The only noise that we have at night is the occasional coal train. It's just quiet, and to imagine having aircraft however many times a day is unimaginable," she said.
Blacktown City Council Mayor Tony Bleasdale also expressed concern for his constituents.
"The protection of residents from noise is a concern I take very seriously," he said in a statement on Tuesday. 
Mr Bleasdale called for more than one public consultation meeting to allow residents the opportunity to understand the mitigations the Commonwealth was proposing. 
"Council remains concerned that, as the airport grows, so will the adverse impacts, from which our residents must be protected," he said.
Chief executive officer of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, Adam Leto, acknowledged there would be growing pains, but argued future opportunities would outweigh them.
"I think the Western Sydney airport has been designed and planned quite deliberately to minimise disruption for residents," he told ABC News.
"There are going to be a small handful of residents that are going to experience some noise, but I think it will only be minimal and it will only affect the handful of residents."
Mr Leto described the infrastructure project as a significant opportunity that would bring new visitors, investment and jobs to the area.
"We need to make the most of it, and the people that will benefit will be the kids of Western Sydney," he said.
"This is the biggest infrastructure project that is happening in the country at the moment and we can't afford to let this opportunity go by."
The benchmark for night-time noise is 60 decibels, the level at which sleep would be disturbed.
While the noise tool shows that Blaxland is outside the 60-decibel contour, residents would still hear aircraft flying over with a noise level of about 60 decibels.
Closer to the airport, when prevailing winds mean the planes will take off towards the south-west, Greendale residents would experience 10 to 19 flights per night that exceed 60 decibels.
In the original environmental impact statement, incoming flights would have converged at Blaxland, which the community objected to.
Susan Templeman, the federal member for Macquarie, which covers the Blue Mountains, said the change would be a relief for some in Blaxland.
"There are widespread impacts from the top of the mountains to the bottom of the mountains and the up through the Hawkesbury. There is now a much wider sharing of the flight noise," she said.
The airport will operate 24 hours a day and is expected to handle 10 million passengers and 81,000 flights by 2033.
The noise tool shows suburbs near the airport — including Erskine Park, Greendale and Luddenham — are expected to exceed a noise level of 60 decibels during the 20 to 49 daily flights.
This level is considered a benchmark for daytime aircraft noise because it is enough to disturb a conversation indoors.
Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said the residents of Western Sydney should be entitled to a night-time curfew.
The long-awaited preliminary flight paths for Western Sydney Airport are now public and residents can use an online tool to determine the noise impacts over their properties.
"It's alright for Sydney to have a curfew, but not all right for us to have a curfew," he said.
"So we feel like second-class citizens. We should be treated the same way as everywhere else."
A curfew at night was introduced for Sydney Airport in 1995.
Infrastructure Minister Catherine King said the airport was designed to be curfew-free.
"The reason we are even talking about having a second airport in Sydney is because of the constraints that are currently there on the curfew airport — at Kingsford Smith Airport," she said.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said it was important for a global city like Sydney to have a curfew-free airport.
"It allows more efficient aircraft usage because a lot of aircraft come here in the middle of the night, which allows airlines, particularly international airlines, to get good utilisation, which brings the airfares down," he said.
Mr Greenhill claimed the aircraft noise could threaten the Blue Mountains' World Heritage listing.
"One has to wonder whether UNESCO will look again at our World Heritage listing and whether the World Heritage values here are compromised," he said.
However, Ms King said the preliminary flight paths had taken the World Heritage listing of the Blue Mountains into consideration.
"The World Heritage listing is very important to the government and very important to the Blue Mountains," she said.
The noise tool shows that the Katoomba Falls lookout, in the heart of the Blue Mountains, was outside the 70-decibel noise contour, but people in that location would hear aircraft at about 42 decibels.
The Bents Basin camping area near Greendale will experience noise levels of around 70 decibels, according to the tool.
A draft environmental impact statement, based on the preliminary flight paths, will be released in September.
It will include the draft noise insulation and property acquisition policy.
Ms King said money had been set aside for acquisitions as part of the environmental impact plans.
Mr Greenhill said the Blue Mountains council had always been opposed to the Western Sydney airport and would campaign against it.
"We will be making a very strong submission to the environmental impact process, but it will come off the back of an intensive political campaign in favour of our region," he said.
Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said the airport was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity". 
"The Penrith community is excited by [Tuesday's] announcement of the flight path as it brings the opening of the new Western Sydney International Airport one step closer," she said in a statement.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.
AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


%d bloggers like this: