Night flights approved for Gold Coast Airport
LATE NIGHT flights at the Gold Coast Airport have been approved before locals claim they were told the decision was made.
Since October 5, Qantas has been allowed to land four freight planes between established flight curfew hours of 11pm and 6am each week, up until June 25 next year. The flights are a result of increased demand for e-commerce.
The Federal Government's Department of Infrastructure, Transport, regional
Development and Communications granted approval last month but locals have until October 23 to appeal it to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
While many say they are glad to see some business for the decimated airport after the COVID-19 downturn, some question the need to land the planes late at night, given a drop in passenger flight numbers.
Airport flights have slumped from an average 420 a week to at times just a handful during COVID-19.
It is understood the freight planes are scheduled for 5:30am Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.
Airservices Australia said it worked closely with the department to ensure eligible aircraft were able to comply with Noise Abatement Procedures in order to reduce community impacts.
Kingscliff's Kristie Hedley said she was concerned about lack of consultation that took place before the approval.
"The community had been notified after the decision had been made - it is backward consultation," Ms Hedley said.
"I question the justification of the late-night movements. Why can't the delivery planes come in at day light hours given we have seen such a drop in people travelling.
"A lot of people are looking at this as only four flights per week, what is the big deal - but there has long been a push to turn it into a 24-hour airport.
"I am worried this is a long-term change that will be made by stealth."
For dog walker Judith Smith who lives on the flight path edge, a good night's sleep is a temporary sacrifice she is willing to make.
"I am happy to live with it for a while, it means people are still in work which is a good thing," Ms Smith said.
"Being in NSW there is an hour's difference so something landing at midnight at the airport is actually 1am for us - it can wake you up.
"I just hope this doesn't mean it will stay forever."
Tweed woman Rhonda Shaw who suffers from a chronic illness said she didn't believe the decision should go unchallenged.
"When we bought the house in the flight path we knew about the airport but we knew there was a curfew.
"If that changes for good it is going to cause a huge amount distress to the elderly who can't move."
Ms Shaw said she did get a response to her concerns from the airport which gave her some confidence, but again there was a concern the approval as the "thin edge of the wedge'.
Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton said the service would be a maximum of four times a week within curfew hours.
"We are aware of community feedback and will continue to liaise with the community and our partners about this operation," she said. "The timing of the service is a commercial decision by the airline and is driven by customer demands."
It's understood connectivity and delivery times were the key considerations for the night freight flights.
Originally published as Night flights approved for Gold Coast Airport