Have questions about SMART Approaches? We’re listening

Managing aircraft noise in our community

As an industry, we recognise that aircraft noise is a concern for some of our neighbours. Managing aircraft noise is a priority across all of the aviation industry and is the joint responsibility of a number of organisations.

The SMART Approaches trial flight paths in Auckland have been specifically designed to reduce carbon emissions, flight times and the distance flown over residential areas – thereby minimising noise impacts on the community. The flight paths trials have also resulted in fewer flights over East and South Auckland.

Analysis of public feedback on the initial trial in 2012 and 2013 found that only 24% of flights identified in the feedback were actually operating SMART Approaches. The majority related to aircraft on existing flight paths and a significant amount of feedback was about a certain aircraft procedure known as visual flight approaches, which allow for aircraft to fly lower than SMART Approaches over residential areas.

As a result of the trial and consultation, the implemented SMART flight paths, and the new Yellow U23 flight path being trialled from 1 September 2015, have been made higher in places and the curves of the approaches widened, so that aircraft can reduce the use of thrust and speed brakes – reducing noise, using even less fuel and delivering benefits for the environment.

The final SMART Approaches report from the trial in 2012 and 2013 also confirmed that from September 2015 all jets flying conventional flight paths from the north would no longer be able to make visual approaches to Auckland Airport. Visual approaches are considered to create more noise than instrument-based approaches. Visual approaches to the airport from the north by wide-body jets, such as the B777, were stopped in September 2014.

However, this will not eliminate all lower than normal over flight. On occasion, Airways New Zealand may instruct pilots to fly a lower than normal approach for the purposes of safety or the sequencing of aircraft on final approach when the airspace is congested. The industry will continue to collaborate to minimise the need for lower than usual overflight on approach to the runway.

Each of the two satellite-guided flight paths to Auckland Airport from the North (implemented from May 2015) and the new Yellow U23 flight path being trialled from 1 September 2015, can be used between the hours of 7am and 10pm by up to 10 aircraft per day

New generation aircraft – reducing noise at the source

New generation aircraft, which are larger, quieter and more efficient, are helping to reduce aircraft noise at the source. Their larger capacity also means that although passenger numbers are increasing, the number of flights is increasing at a slower rate. These measures are amongst those advocated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) which sets standards and regulates aviation safety and security, efficiency and environmental protection. To find out more please visit the ICAO website.

Aircraft Noise Community Consultative Group (ANCCG)

All partners involved in the SMART Approaches trial are members of the Aircraft Noise Community Consultative Group (ANCCG). The Group was established in 1997 and makes recommendations on aircraft noise issues and concerns that arise from operations and activities. The Group also includes representatives from Auckland Council and its Local Boards. It is independently chaired.