Commercial passenger jets landing at Queenstown Airport
disrupt residents living below the flight path several
times a day, as this photograph taken by McBride St
homeowner Barbara Williams in February illustrates.
Frankton resident Barbara Williams says living beneath
the noisy flightpath of Queenstown Airport is ''worse than a
war zone because it just keeps happening''.
She is one of 10 homeowners who will be offered full acoustic
insulation to mitigate aircraft noise inside her house, paid
by the Queenstown Airport Corporation from a $2 million fund
announced this week.
A further 140 homeowners in the next projected boundary of
airport noise will be offered 75% of the cost of acoustic
insulation. Work on the two-year programme will start in
September or October.
The offer to homeowners will remain open for 12 months.
Ms Williams, a lifelong Queenstown resident, said yesterday
her house and contents were often shaken by aircraft landing
or taking off.
''There's no way you can talk, or talk on the telephone, when
they go over,'' she said.
Ms Williams said she had been given assurances since she
bought her property in 1990 the airport would relocate if it
continued to grow, so larger passenger aircraft could land.
She said she heard on average 10 passenger jets, plus
propeller-driven passenger planes, helicopters and private
fixed-wing aeroplanes every day.
The airport said yesterday domestic and international
landings averaged 13 daily in April and May, and 12 in
October and November.
Aircraft landings decreased during off-peak months and the
number of flights changed daily and within seasons due to
Nevertheless, 1.2 million passengers travelled through New
Zealand's fastest-growing airport in 2013, and the number was
expected to double in the next 10 years and could double
again within 20 years.
Ms Williams said she and her elderly mother ''put up'' with
the level of aircraft noise, but she was concerned about it
increasing in the future.
''I live by the airport because I love this location and it
was only a small airport that was going to move if it was
going to grow, and it never did [move],'' Ms Williams said.
''I don't know of any place in the world that has houses so
close to the end of a runway. I think if anyone took sound
tests here it would [be found to be] uninhabitable by people.
''I work out of home and it's worse than a war zone because
it just keeps happening.
''I've got double-glazing everywhere in my house and it makes
no difference at all.''
Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive Scott Paterson
said yesterday he could not comment on past assurances. He
was appointed in March 2012.
''I'm surprised the noise inside her house is the same as it
is outside. There's no doubt her house is very close to the
end of the runway and it is one of the houses that will be
Mr Paterson said noise mitigation to be offered for the
Williams residence would aim to reduce the internal sound
level to 40dba.
''We're going to grow, there's going to be more frequency of
flights and we want to help our closest neighbours.''