MANAGING AIRPORT NOISE
Wellington Airport is mindful of the effects of airport noise on the local community and we are dedicated to careful monitoring and management.
How we do this is guided by our Airport Noise Management Plan. This includes methods and processes for remedying and mitigating adverse effects of airport noise, and to help the airport and its aircraft operators to comply with the noise conditions in our designations.
HOW WE MANAGE NOISE
Airports by their nature are noisy places, but we work hard to minimise the impacts given how close we are to each other.
For example, some of the steps we take include:
- A flight curfew between 1am and 6am (except for exceptional circumstances like medical emergencies)
- Paying for home acoustic mitigation for houses within a close radius of the airport through the Quieter Homes noise mitigation package
- Controlling engine testing and other land-based activities.
- Improving the airport’s layout and equipment to reduce ground noise.
- An airport wide construction noise management plan.
Over the last 20 years the overall noise generated by the airport has significantly declined, even as activity has increased. This is thanks to substantial investment in new technology by the airlines and the airport. These include:
- Changes in aircraft technology have produced new generations of aircraft that are up to 30% quieter, and this trend is likely to continue.
- The implementation of the airport’s curfew that has effectively eliminated most airport noise between midnight and 6am (see below for further information).
- Investment in quieter (electric) ground service equipment.
- Working to avoid new homes (and other noise sensitive activities) from being built close to the airport.
- Providing noise mitigation packages for qualifying homes close to the airport.
- Noise abatement procedures designed especially for Wellington Airport, including smarter flight paths that generate less noise over residential areas.
- Giving the public direct and timely access to noise information so anyone can monitor and enquire about flights online (see Webtrak below).
WELLINGTON AIRPORT CURFEW
Aircraft operations (take-off and landing) must not occur during the following hours:
- DOMESTIC OPERATIONS: From 12am midnight to 6am
- INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURES: From 12am midnight to 6am
- INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS: From 1am to 6am
Exceptions to the Curfew
Operations are permitted for an additional 30 minutes if a flight is delayed on arrival or departure at Wellington through unforeseen circumstances.
The start time of the curfew is also extended by 60 minutes during statutory holiday periods.
In addition, the curfew does not apply in the following circumstances:
- Aircraft landing in an emergency, or for emergency medical flights.
- Unscheduled flights to meet the needs of a declared Civil Defence emergency.
- Aircraft using Wellington as a planned alternate to landing at a scheduled airport (such aircraft cannot take off until otherwise permitted under the curfew rule).
- Aircraft carrying Heads of State or senior dignitaries.
HOW WE MONITOR AIRCRAFT NOISE
Aircraft noise is monitored at three sites around the airport at the Air Noise Boundary (ANB). The monitoring system allows us to evaluate whether the total aircraft noise generated is within the levels set by the Airport’s Main Site Area Designation in the District Plan.
The airport is permitted to emit noise up to 65 decibels at the ANB. This is based on the total noise produced by all aircraft movements during a typical day, evenly measured over a rolling 90-day period. This means that individual aircraft may well exceed 65 decibels, so long as the typical day’s average does not exceed 65 decibels.
Thanks to this monitoring, we know the airport comfortably complies with the Designation's noise requirements.
Each year Wellington Airport prepares an Annual Aircraft Noise Contour which demonstrates compliance with the 65 dB limit at the ANB.
TRACK AND ENQUIRE ABOUT AIRCRAFT
We are committed to providing timely information and giving the community the opportunity to provide feedback on aircraft noise and how it impacts them.
While we aren’t responsible for flying the planes themselves or setting flight paths, we are responsible for communicating with the public about aircraft noise from planes which use our airport.
You can use the online flight monitoring system Webtrak to view aircraft movements and make a complaint or enquiry about aircraft noise.
The flight search and display allow you to view information about aircraft type, height, origin and destination, and the location of flight paths in relation to your home. Click on an aircraft and select the speech bubble if you wish to comment on a particular flight.
Information first becomes available 5 minutes after flight movements have occurred to maintain aviation security and ensure the information is accurate. This data is then stored for up to 90 days.
A handy video guide for using Webtrak is available here.
Keeping the presence of birds away from the runway – especially black-backed gulls – is important for the safety of planes and passengers.
Occasionally we need to use loud noises as one of several methods to scare the birds away, which can include horns, sirens and pyrotechnics. This tends to be at sunrise and sunset when birds congregate on the runway.
Read more about wildlife management at Wellington Airport here.
WELLINGTON AIR NOISE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE (ANMC)
The Air Noise Management Committee (ANMC) is a partnership between the airport, the community and other stakeholders for issues related to noise at Wellington Airport.
Its responsibilities include monitoring compliance with the rules in the Designation and the Noise Management Plan.
Information typically presented at the committee meetings includes aircraft activities, unplanned engine testing incidents, complaints register summary, and an update of the roll-out of the Wellington Airport Quieter Homes Programme.
The committee includes an independent chairperson, four community representatives, a Wellington City Council representative, an Airways representative, an Airlines representative, the Board of Airline Representatives of New Zealand (BARNZ), Life Flight Trust, and two Wellington Airport representatives.
ANMC Meeting Minutes
Noise compliance reporting
RAISE AN ISSUE WITH NOISE
If you would like to raise any concerns or get in touch with us to discuss, please complete our enquiry form.
Alternatively, email your contact details, including your street address, to the address below or leave a message on the answer-phone number. A representative will contact you within three working days.
0508 AIRNOISE (0508 247 664)