Airservices is Australia's air navigation service provider - we provide air traffic control, aviation rescue and fire fighting and air navigation services.

Gold Coast Airport

In accordance with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) mandate and to ensure we continue to have the safest and most efficient air traffic management system possible, a series of changes are scheduled to occur at Gold Coast Airport from August 2016 to 2018 to maximise the benefits of satellite-based navigation systems, meeting the expectations of airspace users and the travelling public into the future.

Information on the flight path changes implemented on 18 August 2016 is available on our Aircraft Noise – Gold Coast Airport page.

What are the changes?

Links between flight paths to and from the north and east

The majority of commercial aircraft operating at Gold Coast Airport are travelling to and from destinations to the south. For this reason, the flight path network comprising of arrival and departure procedures are well established.

This is not the same for aircraft arriving to and from the north and east where there are ‘gaps’ between procedures off the coast. Aircraft are manually guided between these procedures by air traffic control which is an acceptable safe practice when traffic levels are low.

The ongoing growth in air traffic to and from the north and east now requires these flight paths to be linked up in order to ensure the highest levels of safety are maintained. Once this has occurred, pilots will be able to fly close to landing at the airport on autopilot without requiring the navigation assistance of air traffic control as currently occurs for aircraft travelling to and from the south.

Satellite-based procedures as the primary means of navigation for the majority of flights

There have been two broad forms of satellite-based navigation used by aircraft for landing: Required Navigation (RNAV), which provides horizontal guidance only, Required Navigation Performance – Authorisation Required (RNP-AR), known in Australia as ‘Smart Tracking’, which provides both horizontal and vertical guidance.

A new navigation system called Barometric Vertical Navigation (BARO VNAV) has recently been developed to assist pilots when landing. BARO VNAV uses satellite signals to position an aircraft horizontally and barometric pressure to control the vertical descent to the runway.

A Smart Tracking procedure will be established at the southern end of the airport which will be available for use by all suitably equipped aircraft. This will replace the existing Smart Tracking proprietary procedure which limits use to specified airlines and aircraft types. The Smart Tracking flight path will remain in its current location, offset to the east of the extended runway centreline.

For aircraft landing to the southern runway end, a BARO VNAV procedure will be established within the runway-aligned existing flight path corridor.

The Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) and VHF Omni-Directional Range (VOR) procedures involve tracking towards the ground-based navigation aids which are adjacent to, rather than in line with the runway. As the positions of the NDB and VOR on the ground are some 400 metres to the west of the runway, it is not possible for their new flight paths to be fully runway aligned.

Finalise consultation for the Instrument Landing System

The Instrument Landing System (ILS) proposal received Government approval in January 2016. It is anticipated the system and its new flight path will be available for use by mid to late-2017.

In the three months prior to the system becoming operational, Airservices and Gold Coast Airport will provide follow-up information to remind the community about the purpose of the system, its expected level of use and the anticipated noise impacts of aircraft using this flight path.

Revised noise abatement procedures

Noise abatement procedures are guidelines which aim to reduce the impact of aircraft noise on the community. They generally include procedures for preferred runway use and flight paths to reduce flights over residential areas.

Working with the Gold Coast Airport, respective airlines and the community Airservices intends to revise the Gold Coast Airport noise abatement procedures to create a baseline of expectation for aircraft to use alternate landing technology to the ILS and instead use satellite-based landing systems whenever possible as being preferred over ground-based navigation systems.

Finalising a draft change to the noise abatement procedures requires input from air traffic control to ensure the proposed wording is safe and practicable. The timing of any community discussion is yet to be determined.

When will the changes happen?

June 2016
Aircraft Navigation Modernisation Program for Gold Coast Airport presented to the community.

August 2016
Runway 14 – Replace existing RNAV with runway aligned RNAV
Runway 14 – NDB/VOR straightened to five degree offset
Runway 32 – NDB/VOR straightened to five degree offset

Mid 2017
Updated Noise Abatement Procedures

Mid to late 2017
Runway 14 – Instrument Landing System commences operation
Runway 32 – New Smart Tracking flight path for aircraft arriving from the north and east
Runway 32 – Replace existing RNAV with BARO VNAV

Late 2017
Runway 14 – Standard Arrival Routes (STAR) from north
Runway 14 – Standard Arrival Routes (STAR) from east (NZ)
Runway 14 – Standard Instrument Departures (SID) to north
Runway 32 – Standard Arrival Routes (STAR) from north
Runway 32 – Standard Arrival Routes (STAR) from east (NZ)

Community Consultation

Airservices will present the Aircraft Navigation Modernisation Program for Gold Coast Airport to the community from June 2016 in conjunction with the airport’s established community forums (Community Aviation Consultation Group and Aircraft Noise Abatement Consultative Committee) and its proposed Draft 2017-2021 Master Plan consultation.

The community will be kept updated with the program’s key elements as they are progressively rolled out through to the end of 2017.

For more information

Contact the Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS) via:

  • 1800 802 584 (freecall)
  • our online form
  • mail to Noise Complaints and Information Service, PO Box 211, Mascot NSW, 1460

An interpreter service is also available on 131 450.

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