Aircraft will have to fly higher and faster over some
Auckland suburbs in a new flight path to Auckland Airport
after residents complained the noise had become intolerable.
But it's only a partial victory, as a draft report into a
"Smart Approaches" trial - a test of a satellite-based
navigation landing approach system for descent north of the
airport - concluded noise from the path was only "just
perceptible to the human ear".
It said the new path saved flight time and fuel and cut
But some fine-tuning was recommended before the curved
descents could come back into use early next year with a cap
of 10 flights a day.
The report recommended flying height at a navigational
waypoint above the intersection of Mt Albert and Dominion Rds
be increased from the trial's minimum of 4000ft to at least
Lorraine Clark, of the Plane Truth campaign, said its
petition had asked that flights at the point be increased to
"Only time will tell if there is any improvement in noise
effects post tinkering around the edges of the system."
The Weekend Herald last night asked residents around the
intersection of Mt Albert Rd and May Rd about the proposed
"It's noisy," Pat McCarty said of the planes.
"You can hear them going over and sometimes it's scary
because you wonder if one of them is going to fall into your
But her next-door neighbour, Adrian Ironside, said he never
heard any aircraft, even during last year's trial of the new
flight paths, although he appreciated his double-glazed
windows as a defence against incessant road traffic noise.
Jo Excell said she occasionally noticed aircraft flying
overhead for two or three seconds at a time but enjoyed the
thought of people travelling from afar.
Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall said
he wanted to see more detail on proposals than was in the
Greenwoods Corner Business Association chairwoman Joy
Stirling said the trial would affect people with with small
children who would be woken late at night.
"But for us as businesses on a main arterial road to and from
the airport, we have much greater concerns about heavy trucks
going at speed.
"We don't notice the noise during the daytime because of the
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett
said the draft report concluded the trial was a success but
the organisation would take up the opportunity to make a
"At first view, a trial that delivers fuel and carbon
emission savings and reduced flight times, with noise levels
determined to be within acceptable levels, sets a useful
platform for the airport and Aucklanders to leverage on,"
said Mr Barnett.
"I see a great opportunity to now deliver business
efficiencies, better journeys for travellers and reinforce
the Auckland (and New Zealand) brand as an attractive place
to visit and do business from."
During the trial, independent acoustic consultants measured
impacts on noise levels over residential areas at Marsden Ave
(Balmoral), Coronation Rd (Epsom), Moana Ave (One Tree Hill),
Tokorina Place (Oranga) and Reinheimer Place (Flat Bush).
The airport says Smart flights had marginally higher noise
levels of three decibels higher on average.
However, the difference was not regarded as significant and
would be expected to be only just perceptible to the human
The one exception to this was at Reinheimer Place in Flat
Bush, South Auckland, where the difference was a perceptible
- By Wayne Thompson of the New Zealand Herald