Flight Path Design Principles

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This project has concluded

Planning Flight Paths into the Future

Airservices Australia is shaping how we design, develop and implement flight path changes into the future.

Between 14 January 2020 and 9 March 2020, we conducted a national stakeholder consultation on Airservices Draft Flight Path Design Principles.

This consultation did not include discussions on specific flight path changes occurring in any one location. The consultation was focused solely on the Draft Principles.

As part of our commitment to engage with our stakeholders, we hosted a series of conversations across the country, regarding the principles that should guide the design, development and implementation of flight paths in Australian airspace, now and into the future.

A Safe & Sustainable Aviation Future

A safe, secure and efficient aviation industry underpins business, trade and tourism activities that contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity.

We need to cater for the changing nature of aircraft operations, air traffic growth, airport expansion and advances in aviation technology, while keeping aviation safety as our first priority.

Aircraft noise is an inevitable impact of aviation activity. While airports are essential economic assets that provide communities and businesses with great benefits, residents living within 75 km of an airport may experience noise and visual impacts of aircraft arriving, departing or overflying the airport.

We need to manage the impacts of aviation activities and this requires a careful balance of ensuring safety, operational efficiency, protecting the environment and minimising the effects of aviation noise on the community, wherever practicable.

(External link)

(External link)


Planning Flight Paths into the Future

Airservices Australia is shaping how we design, develop and implement flight path changes into the future.

Between 14 January 2020 and 9 March 2020, we conducted a national stakeholder consultation on Airservices Draft Flight Path Design Principles.

This consultation did not include discussions on specific flight path changes occurring in any one location. The consultation was focused solely on the Draft Principles.

As part of our commitment to engage with our stakeholders, we hosted a series of conversations across the country, regarding the principles that should guide the design, development and implementation of flight paths in Australian airspace, now and into the future.

A Safe & Sustainable Aviation Future

A safe, secure and efficient aviation industry underpins business, trade and tourism activities that contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity.

We need to cater for the changing nature of aircraft operations, air traffic growth, airport expansion and advances in aviation technology, while keeping aviation safety as our first priority.

Aircraft noise is an inevitable impact of aviation activity. While airports are essential economic assets that provide communities and businesses with great benefits, residents living within 75 km of an airport may experience noise and visual impacts of aircraft arriving, departing or overflying the airport.

We need to manage the impacts of aviation activities and this requires a careful balance of ensuring safety, operational efficiency, protecting the environment and minimising the effects of aviation noise on the community, wherever practicable.

(External link)

(External link)


This project has concluded
  • Flight Path Design Principles Released

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    23 Sep 2020

    We have released Airservices Flight Path Design Principles document which you can access here.

    The Flight Path Design Principles are effective from 1 October 2020 and will apply to all flight path changes from that date.

    This follows a national consultation between 13 January 2020 to 9 March 2020 and a public comment period between 10 June 2020 and 8 July 2020.

    We would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation and the public comment period by providing comments and submissions.

    The Stakeholder Consultation Outcomes Summary (May 2020) can be accessed here.

    During the public comment period over 4,000 people visited the project page and we received a total of 143 comments, including a number of detailed submissions.

    The Consideration of Feedback report can be accessed here.

    The draft documents that formed the basis of our Flight Path Design Principles consultation have now been archived. These can be provided on request by contacting communityengagement@airservicesaustralia.com


  • Public comment period closed

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    10 Jul 2020

    The public comment period for the Flight Path Design Principles has now closed.

    Thank you for taking the time to submit your comments. We will release of a summary of what we heard in the next few weeks.


  • Flight Path Design Principles released for public comment

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    10 Jun 2020

    We would like to thank the thousands of people who contributed to the national consultation, either through completing the online survey, participating in workshops or by providing submissions.

    For a summary of what we heard, access the Stakeholder Consultation Outcomes Summary Report here. Note: You will need to download the report to access the appendices that are linked in the document.

    Your feedback has helped us to develop the final Flight Path Design Principles, which we will apply to new flight path and airspace change projects from July 2020.

    Access a one-page summary of the Principles here.

    Additionally, in response to feedback received during the national consultation, we have developed detailed Flight Path Design Principle Application Notes to describe how the Principles will be applied.

    Access the Flight Path Design Principle Application Notes here.

    The public comment period is open for four weeks, from Wednesday 10 June 2020 to Wednesday 8 July 2020 (midnight AEST).

    Submit comments here.

  • Coming Soon! Release Flight Path Design Principles for public comment

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    04 Jun 2020

    We are currently finalising the proposed final Flight Path Design Principles and a four week public comment period will commence shortly.

    To stay informed and be notified of the public comment period subscribe for project updates on this page.

  • Additional Consultation Closed

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    10 Mar 2020

    Thank you for taking part in the Draft Flight Path Design additional consultation.

    We will collate feedback from our stakeholders across Australia and this feedback will be used to shape the Flight Path Design Principles.

    Once finalised, in mid 2020, the Flight Path Design Principles will guide flight path design, development and implementation in the future.

    Subscribe for project updates to stay informed on the development of the Flight path Design Principles.


  • Additional consultation 24 February 2020 - 9 March 2020

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    24 Feb 2020

    We are pleased to report that we have experienced a high level of ongoing interest in the draft Flight Path Design Principles consultation from a range of stakeholders across the country.

    As such, we are holding an additional online consultation period commencing Monday 24 February 2020 and closing at midnight AEST Monday 9 March 2020.

    If you have not yet participated in the consultation, please click the link above to complete the online survey.

    Written comments, including suggestions for new or amended Draft Flight Path Design Principles for Airservices consideration, can be forwarded to Declan.Drake@Newgatecomms.com.au.

    Please Note: This consultation does not include discussions on specific flight path changes occurring in any one location. The consultation is focused solely on the Draft Principles.

  • Consultation Closed

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    10 Feb 2020

    Thank you for taking part in the Draft Flight Path Design consultation.

    We will collate feedback from our stakeholders across Australia and this feedback will be used to shape the Flight Path Design Principles.

    Once finalised, in mid 2020, the Flight Path Design Principles will guide flight path design, development and implementation in the future.

    Subscribe for project updates to stay informed on the development of the Flight path Design Principles.

  • Draft Flight Path Design Principles

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    24 Jan 2020

    The contents of our Draft Flight Path Design Principles Fact Sheet has been published below for accessibility purposes.

    As part of our commitment to improve our dialogue with industry and community stakeholders, Airservices Australia has developed a set of principles to help us to design,develop and make decisions about flight paths that we implement and operate.

    The Draft Flight Path Design Principles have been internationally benchmarked against other aviation service providers.

    Flight path design is a complex end-to-end process that must ensure safety as the first priority,and then seek to balance the efficiency and operational needs of the range of stakeholders,minimise the environmental impacts of aircraft operations,and provide equity of access to airspace. Consideration is also given to the effect of the flight path change on the broader air traffic management network performance.

    It is not possible to guarantee any suburb,group or individual exemption from the effects of aircraft operations,including noise and visual impacts.

    Once finalised,following national consultation,the Flight Path Design Principles will be used in the design and development of flight paths in the future,as part of the conduct of environmental assessments of proposals for new air routes and for changes to existing arrangements,and as the basis for determining the designs that will progress to implementation.

    Airservices Australia commits to being transparent throughout the flight path design,development and implementation process,and to describing how each of the principles have been considered in the flight path change process.

    Safety principles

    Principle 1 - The safety of air navigation must be the most important consideration.

    Principle 2 - Flight paths must be designed in accordance with Australian and International design
    standards established in International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) PANS-OPS and Australian Civil
    Aviation Safety Regulations Part 173. (International Civil Aviation Publication Doc 8168-OPS/611 Volumes I and II)

    Environmental principles

    Principle 3 - Minimise the effect on the environment through designs that effectively manage emissions, fuel consumption and greenhouse gases, limiting these wherever practicable.

    Principle 4 - To the extent practicable, protect areas of Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES), local cultural heritage and areas of natural beauty, considering the noise, emissions and visual impacts of the change.

    Principle 5 - Design flight path changes that deliver efficiency while minimising the noise effects of aircraft operations through continuous descent operations(CDO), continuous climb operations (CCO) and unrestricted flight paths.

    Noise and community impact

    Principle 6 - Noise should be concentrated as much as possible over non-residential and other non-noise sensitive areas and establishments.

    Principle 7 – Where residential areas are exposed to noise, it should be fairly shared whenever feasible and practicable.

    Principle 8 - Noise Abatement Procedures and Fly Neighbourly Procedures should be optimised to achieve the lowest possible overall impact on the community.

    Principle 9 - Aircraft operations that are conducted at night or on weekends should be treated as being more sensitive than those which occur during the daytime or on weekdays.

    Principle 10 - Both current and expected future noise exposure shall be taken into account when considering flight path design changes.

    Principle 11 - To the extent practicable, distribute flight paths so that residential areas overflown by aircraft arriving on a particular runway do not also experience overflight by aircraft departing from the runway in the reciprocal direction.

    Operational principles

    Principle 12 - Consider the impact of flight path options on airport capacity and overall network operations.

    Principle 13 - Flight paths will accommodate differing aircraft performance as specified in ICAO PANS-OPS.

    Principle 14 – Design flight paths to facilitate access to all eligible airspace users.

    Disclaimer: The content in this document is in draft form. It is provided for the purposes of stakeholder engagement activities regarding the Draft Flight Path Design Principles. As it is a work in progress it may be incomplete, contain preliminary conclusions and may change. No duty of care or liability to you or any third party is accepted for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this document.
  • Melbourne Community Workshop - Now Full

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    21 Jan 2020

    The Melbourne Community Workshop (Wednesday 29 January) is now full.

    If you have registered to attend and you are no longer able to do so please confirm this with Declan Drake at Newgate (0477 119 991 or declan.drake@newgateengage.com.au), so that your place may be offered to another interested participant.

    To ensure we are able to hear your views we encourage you to have your say via the Online Survey.



  • Community Workshops - Registration Date Extended

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    21 Jan 2020

    We have extended the date to register attendance at Community Workshops.

    Please register your details by 24 January 2020.

    To register please contact Declan Drake at Newgate on 0477 119 991 or via email at declan.drake@newgateengage.com.au