Diggers Rest residents could be subject to more frequent aircraft noise, with a plan for more than three-quarters of Melbourne Airport flights to take off using flight paths to the west of the airport.
A draft master plan for the airport’s $10 billion expansion includes a second east-west runway, with 49 per cent of departing flights to take off from the western end of the existing runway and 33 per cent to take off from the new one, between 6am and 11pm.
Melbourne Airport modelling shows that between 11pm and 6pm, 29 per cent of aircraft will depart using western flight paths and 65 per cent of arriving aircraft will use western flight paths. Departing aircraft are generally louder than incoming aircraft.
Construction on the new runway is planned to start next year to keep up with massive passenger growth. Melbourne Airport predicts passenger numbers will double to 67 million by 2038.
Diggers Rest residents have long complained about aircraft noise. A short-term monitoring program for the suburb was carried out by AirServices between October, 2014, and January, 2015.
It noted that incidents of aircraft noises exceeding 60 decibels ranged from zero to 40 a day, with a daily average of nine. There were 17 times when the noise exceeded 75 decibels, with one of those occurring overnight sometime between 11pm and 6am.
Melbourne Airport’s draft master plan also includes commercial expansion and construction, including hotels, offices and industrial warehouses.
While a railway line to the airport is yet to be built, Melbourne Airport says it “strongly” supports the proposal.
The draft master plan states planning and developing for a railway line in the next five years were essential to being able to deliver it in a “timely manner”.
The draft master plan is out for public comment until October 5. A number of community forums have been organised, including one at Caroline Springs on August 18 between 11am and 2pm. Details: my.melbourneairport.com/masterplan