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Instrument landing system for Gold Coast Airport

At Gold Coast Airport, an Instrument Landing System (ILS) will provide vertical and horizontal guidance to pilots when landing in low visibility weather conditions, reducing flight delays and diversions. The Gold Coast typically experiences low visibility weather conditions due to tropical storms and high rainfall during the summer months, which is the region’s peak travel season.

As it is being installed on Runway 14, use of the ILS will require a new flight path extending north in a straight line from the runway to approximately Surfers Paradise.

Construction works and flight path validation will take approximately 12 months. Aircraft are expected to start using the ILS in early 2018. Before it is available to airlines the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will require that the ILS flight path is flown by a specialist calibration aircraft.

Noise abatement procedures will ensure that alternative flight paths are used in preference to the ILS unless operationally required due to weather or other reasons. Usage will vary according to weather conditions. When the weather is fine there may be days when the ILS is not used at all. On days when the weather is poor, all aircraft may need to use the ILS. When ILS usage is averaged out over the year it is expected to average six flights per day based on forecasts in Gold Coast Airport’s Major Development Plan.

ILS flight path

The ILS will need a new flight path extending north for about 18 kilometres (10 nautical miles) in a straight line from the northern end of the main runway to approximately Surfers Paradise (see map 1). This will give aircraft enough opportunity to ‘line up’ to the runway and ‘lock in’ with the ILS to receive guidance to the runway.

Much of this flight path is over residential land instead of over the ocean where most existing arrival flight paths are located. This will also mean a longer flying distance for those aircraft arriving from the south and east of the airport. At the starting point of the ILS approach flight path, 18 kilometres from the runway, aircraft will be more than 750 metres high or 2500 feet above ground level. Aircraft will generally perform a smooth constant descent once established in a straight line with the runway.

ILS flight path

MAP 1: The ILS flight path is shown by solid yellow lines. Some aircraft may fly through the region between the dotted lines as they travel to join the ILS flight path. Click on the map to see a larger version and use your BACK button to return to this page.


For information on flight paths currently in use, visit our online information about Gold Coast Airport or WebTrak.

How will the ILS affect me?

When in use, the new ILS flight paths will have a varying effect on suburbs to the north of the airport. In the map below, suburbs have been grouped into regions to more effectively explain the aircraft noise impacts when the ILS is in use. A detailed description of the noise effects for each region appears below the map. Click on the map to see a larger version and use your BACK button to return to this page.

How noise from the ILS flight path with affect residents

MAP 2: How noise from the ILS flight path will affect residents. See description below. Click to see a larger version of the map and use your BACK button to return to this page.


Region 1 (green)

The proposed ILS flight path will be very similar to the existing approach flight paths to Runway 14 so the suburbs of Currumbin, Tugun and Bilinga are not expected to experience any additional aircraft noise impacts as a result.

Region 2 (orange)

Residents in this area, from Palm Beach to Surfers Paradise, currently experience a low level of aircraft noise. This area is expected to experience noticeable increases in aircraft noise when the ILS is used as aircraft will be travelling overhead instead of being some distance to the east over the ocean. Region 2 is expected to experience additional aircraft noise events of up to 74 dB(A) which is similar to the sound you may hear when a truck drives down your street and you are inside your home. Residents may perceive the increase in aircraft noise as up to twice as loud in some areas of Region 2.

Region 3 (solid and striped pink)

Region 3 is not expected to experience significant noise impacts as a result of the ILS. Aircraft arriving from the north using the ILS will generally fly within the solid pink coastal corridor on the map, spanning the suburbs of Runaway Bay to Surfers Paradise. Most international aircraft arriving into the Gold Coast from the north will fly over this region.

The suburbs of Varsity Lakes to Helensvale make up the striped, left portion of Region 3. A small number of aircraft could fly over this region to join the ILS flight path in order to avoid extreme weather events, to spread high volumes of air traffic or to respond to medical or aircraft emergencies.

More information