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

Melbourne Airport Smart Path

Latest update

May 2018

Airservices will be introducing changes to the airspace surrounding Melbourne Airport on 8 November 2018. The airspace changes are required to meet new regulations to safely manage incoming flights on approach to Melbourne Airport. There will be no changes to the current flight paths. The change requires aircraft to fly slightly lower (500ft) during a small section of their final approach. Environmental assessments indicate there will be no discernible increase in aircraft noise on the ground.


Lowering of airspace south of the Airport

Airservices is introducing Smart Path technology at Melbourne Airport to improve safety and predictability for aircraft.

Airservices has requested that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approve the lowering of controlled airspace at the edge of Port Phillip Bay between Altona South and Station Pier. This will facilitate the introduction of a precision approach using Ground Based Augmentation System (Smart Path) technology, into Melbourne Airport from the south.

What is Smart Path technology?

Smart Path technology is a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) based precision approach and landing system. This landing system was installed for other approaches at Melbourne Airport in 2017, to provide Australian and international airlines with access to the technical and operational advantages from this form of precision approach.

This technology provides a precision approach with vertical guidance, which results in significant improvements in safety and predictability for landing in poor weather and navigating terrain. Further information on this technology can be found on the Airservices website at http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/projects/ground-based-augmentation-system-gbas/

What is going to change?

In order to introduce Smart Path technology to the approach route south of Melbourne Airport, the controlled airspace at the edge of Port Phillip Bay between Altona South and Station Pier, will require lowing by 500ft.

Light general aviation aircraft currently use the airspace between Altona South and Station Pier to track along the coast. They currently fly between 500ft and 2500ft. The lowering of airspace along this route will require the aircraft to fly lower – between 500ft and 2000ft.

The proposed airspace change will not result in any changes to flight paths, however more light aircraft may be a lower altitudes. In 2017 12% of the total number of light aircraft that fly along this route are between 2000ft and 2500ft, therefore residents may notice that these aircraft will be flying lower as a result of the airspace change.

Will there be any change in aircraft noise?

Residents are not expected to experience noticeable changes to noise levels. For the proposed altitude change of 500ft an increase in noise level of approximately 2 dB(A) can be expected.

When will this change start?

Following approval from CASA, it is anticipated that the changes will be implemented in November 2018.

Where can I get more information or provide feedback on the change?

More information on Airservices operations at Melbourne Airport can be found at http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/aircraftnoise/melbourne/

To contact Airservices regarding this change call Airservices Noise Complaints and Information Service: 1800 802 584 (free call), an interpreter service is also available on 131 450 or visit the website at: https://complaints.bksv.com/asa

Figure 1: Area controlled airspace to be lowered

Melbourne Airport - Area controlled airspace to be lowered

Smart Path for Runway 34

Airservices is introducing Smart Path technology at Melbourne Airport to improve safety and predictability for aircraft.

In 2017 Airservices installed the satellite based navigation precision landing system, known as Smart Path technology to a number of approach procedures at Melbourne Airport. This technology provide airlines with safer guidance to the runway.

What is Smart Path technology?

Smart Path is a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) which provides Australian and international airlines with access to technical and operational advantages of this form of precision approach.

This technology provides a precision approach with vertical guidance, which results in significant improvements in safety and predictability for landing in poor weather and navigating terrain. Further information on this technology can be found on the Airservices website at http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/projects/ground-based-augmentation-system-gbas/

What Is Going To Change?

Following the implementation of Smart Path technology to other approaches at Melbourne Airport in 2017, Airservices is now proposing to provide this technology to Runway 34.

Implementation of Smart Path to Runway 34 provides a vertically guided precision approach ensuring that aircraft using this technology will be on a vertically and laterally guided path, to improve landing capability in poor weather when there are northerly winds.

To comply with international design standards Airservices must ensure that the final approach is correctly intercepted by aircraft. To enable this, aircraft may be up to 500ft lower between 25km and 15km from the runway landing point. The reduction in height will vary according to how the flight management computers in the aircraft manage the length of flat segment required prior to landing. There are no lateral changes to the existing flight paths.

Aircraft using Smart Path to land at Melbourne Airport from the south onto Runway 34 will be on existing flight paths as shown in Figure 1.

Will There Be Any Change In Aircraft Noise?

It is anticipated that an average of approximately 30 aircraft per day and maximum of approximately 130 on any given day, arriving to Melbourne Airport from the south to Runway 34, will use Smart Path navigation. Based on current fleet capability this is approximately 40% of jets using the existing flight path, as not all aircraft are equipped to use Smart Path.

Aircraft using Smart Path technology to land at Melbourne Airport from the south onto Runway 34 will be on existing flight paths, however Aircraft may be up to 500ft lower from the existing altitude of 3000ft to the proposed level of 2500ft.

Residents in Laverton, Altona, Brooklyn, Yarraville, Port Melbourne, Kingsville, South Kingsville, Tottenham, West Footscray, Altona Nth, Newport and Spotswood areas may notice that some aircraft, particularly larger aircraft may be up to 500ft lower. Noise modelling indicates that some residents may experience an increase in single noise event levels of between 0.4 – 1.6dB(A), however it is anticipated that this level of increase will not be perceptible.

When will this change start?

Following approval from CASA, it is anticipated that the changes will be implemented in November 2018.

Where can I get more information or provide feedback on the change?

More information on Airservices operations at Melbourne Airport can be found at http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/aircraftnoise/melbourne/

To contact Airservices regarding this change call Airservices Noise Complaints and Information Service: 1800 802 584 (free call), an interpreter service is also available on 131 450 or visit the website at: https://complaints.bksv.com/asa

Figure 1: Existing flight paths to Runway 34

Melbourne Airport - Existing flight paths to Runway 34

Aircraft within the green and blue corridors may be up to 500ft lower (arriving Smart Path aircraft will be between 3,000ft and 2,500ft in the corridors shown)

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