Why can aircraft fly at sensitive times?
Aviation is a vital industry for the Australian economy. Business, tourism, social and freight activities rely on aviation. Unlike many other industries, aviation is regulated by the federal government rather than by state governments. This makes aircraft noise regulation quite different from the type of noise regulation you are used to at a local level that might, for example, prohibit noisy activities before 8:00am on a Sunday.
Major airports in Australia are situated very close to residential areas and for this reason it is not possible to design flight paths that avoid flying over homes. In cities where the airport is located on the coast, flight paths will be designed to fly over water wherever possible. However because aircraft must take off and land into the wind, it is not always possible to avoid flying over residential suburbs by staying over water.
Aircraft noise remains a key challenge for an industry that is forecasting high levels of growth in air traffic movements over the next 20 years. Managing noise impacts on communities requires careful balance between the protection of affected residents and recognition of the broader economic and social contributions of the aviation activity.