New Instrument Landing System approved for Gold Coast Airport

Media Release

WT023/2016

25 January 2016

The Australian Government has approved an application from the Gold Coast Airport to install an Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the installation of an ILS on runway 14 at Gold Coast Airport would be an important addition to the national navigational aid network.

"The ILS is a well-established, reliable navigational aid available at most international airports and at 27 other locations around Australia. All commercial pilots are qualified to fly an ILS approach and all Regular Public Transport (RPT) aircraft are equipped with the required avionics," Mr Truss said.

"An ILS is capable of guiding aircraft to a lower decision height and closer to the runway end for a pilot to determine whether visibility is sufficient for landing. As a result, fewer aircraft need to be diverted to other airports when weather conditions are marginal.

"Gold Coast Airport is currently the sixth busiest airport in Australia, but the only one of the 12 busiest not to have ILS capability.

"The ILS will supplement existing Required Navigation Performance (RNP) and visual approach procedures to improve Gold Coast Airport's capability of ensuring safe and reliable aircraft landings.

"Since 2010, there has been an average 50 diversions per year from Gold Coast Airport due to inclement weather, as well as many more missed approaches and aircraft that never left their port of origin due to the forecast weather conditions at the Gold Coast.

"The ILS will help to reduce diversions, aircraft circling, missed approaches and flight cancellations in poor weather conditions. This will reduce the inconvenience and impost on passengers, airlines, airport retail businesses, transport operators and other stakeholders due to flight disruptions."

Gold Coast Airport currently services around 6 million passengers per year, which is forecast to grow to 16.3 million passengers in 2031. The number of flight diversions is expected to increase proportionally if there are no improvements to landing capabilities.

Mr Truss said the ILS is appropriate for Gold Coast Airport to function as a world-class facility, equipped with the same level of aviation technology expected of an international airport of similar size and capacity.

"It will help to improve aviation facilities at the Airport in preparation for the forthcoming 2018 Commonwealth Games when the number of domestic and international visitors passing through the Airport is expected to increase significantly," he said.

Mr Truss aircraft using the ILS would need to make a longer approach from the north and he appreciated the concerns of those who will experience some extra aircraft noise when the ILS is in use. Other areas will be less exposed to noise.

"I have instructed Airservices Australia when directing traffic to make every effort to minimise the use of the ILS while meeting air safety requirements. I expect Airservices to work collaboratively with the Airport, airline industry and community in designing Noise Abatement Procedures which prioritise RNP and other existing approach procedures above the ILS," he said.

"The majority of arrivals to Gold Coast Airport are from ports to the south. For these aircraft, the existing visual and instrument approaches are shorter and require less fuel and will continue to be preferred.

"I am informed that many of the most frequent users of the airport are committed to continue using current approach procedures to help minimise aircraft noise impacts, unless an ILS approach is specifically required," Mr Truss said.

"On fine weather days and when runway 14 is in use (around 140 days per year), the ILS is expected to be used no more than 10% of the time. No additional residents will be exposed to noise levels greater than 60dB(A) in these conditions. By way of reference, 60dB(A) is roughly equivalent to the noise level of normal conversation and 70dB(A) is similar to the noise of a nearby passing car.

"Maximum use of the ILS will occur on extremely bad weather days when runway 14 is in use, which is around 10 days per year.

"Gold Coast Airport currently operates a legislated curfew between 11pm and 6am which will not change with the installation of the ILS."

Mr Truss said he fully expects Airservices and the Airport to inform the Aircraft Noise Ombudsman of all proposed actions with regards to the ILS, conduct a post-implementation review 12 to 18 months after the commissioning of the ILS, including noise monitoring and reporting, and implement an on-going community engagement strategy to keep the community informed.

Mr Truss strongly encouraged Gold Coast Airport to be alert to future technological advancements that may further add to safety and efficiency such as the Ground-Based Augmentation System, should they become available for implementation using a curved approach over water to the Airport.

The ILS is expected to become operational in 2017.

Details of the ILS can be found on the Airport's website at http://goldcoastairport.com.au/regulatory/instrument-landing-system-development-plan/.