The discussion about restrictions on operations at Badgerys Creek is just that; a discussion. The current Environment Impact Statement (EIS) and Airport Plan are a "proof of concept", ie glossy brochures. All tip and no iceberg as Paul Keating would say. According to the timelines given, it'll be 5 years before detailed noise restrictions and the design of the airport are finalised. The EIS uses glib phrasing such as:
- international best-practice
- a focus on minimising flights over residential areas (in bold).
- the use of head-to-head operations to and from the south-west, when it is safe to do so, is an important preferred option for managing aircraft noise at night.
- thoroughly evaluated.
The statement "indications are that head-to-head operations could be available greater than 80% of the time" seems to have come from the Ministers office. Could being the operative word.
Head-to-head operation is a major restriction in itself. Whilst head-to-head is not particularly dangerous, implementing it safely causes problems. Without detailed information on aircraft types, required noise-avoidance flight paths and airport layout, it is difficult to model its application, however it would significantly reduce capacity. In a simple scenario, for an aircraft to depart between 2 arriving aircraft would require a gap of at least 10 mins between the arriving aircraft, as opposed to a gap of 2 - 3 mins between arriving aircraft when all aircraft are using the same direction. This also means aircraft have to depart 10 mins apart to accommodate an arriving aircraft. Unless the wind is calm or blowing across the runway at 90 degrees, either the arriving or the departing aircraft has to operate with a tailwind component. Anything over 5 knots becomes problematic for an aircraft (in some cases, any tailwind component is not acceptable).
The EIS is sufficiently vague to be meaningless. If you are considering buying a house north-east of the airport, are happy to put up with the daytime noise but would like a good night's sleep there is no guarantee of such. You could get conditions lasting 3 or 4 nights in a row where the wind is a strong northerly and the tailwind component for departures to the south-west is 15 knots, meaning aircraft need to depart to the north-east. Conversely, if you are an air operator (stakeholder) and need to start planning now for a move to Badgerys Creek, there is nothing to say that the final restrictions won't impinge on your business. It's a battle to be fought between the local community and the stakeholders in the "fullness of time".
Like the rest of you, I find it amazing that any form of restriction on operations should be contemplated for a new airport, but that's how it is these days. One thing is certain, whatever the outcome, the term curfew won't be used. Anyway, at least from my point of view, this is drifting away from the topic of this forum, so over and out.