In New Zealand, the Civil Aviation denies planes are flying lower in Wellington

People living in the area or Brooklyn, some three miles from Wellington airport in New Zealand, believe they are now being subjected to much more aircraft noise than before. But despite residents’ complaints, New Zealand Civil Aviation officials say there has not been any change to flight paths and no changes to rules that might relate flights over Wellington.  The airport said there had been no changes that would suggest a significant increase in flights over specific areas, though there had been  “unseasonably good weather” during summer which might have affected aircraft operations. Nevertheless, Brooklyn residents were adamant there was a problem and that planes were flying lower than previously. The changes began about a year ago, with planes lower than before.  Residents want the flight paths to revert to their earlier routes, and letters have been sent to Civil Aviation, city councillors, the mayor, MPs and the airport – but there is either no response or else replies to say responsibility lies elsewhere.  A resident said she had lived in the area for 21 years, but this was the first year of planes being lower.  There are also problems at Auckland. Some of this sounds familiar to problems in the UK.



Civil Aviation denies planes flying lower in Wellington

8.7.2015   ( – New Zealand)

Sitting in the back yard with planes flying 1800 metres overhead is not what Brooklyn residents say they signed up for when they bought their homes.  [Location of the airport in Wellington shown here . Wellington is at the southern end of the north island in NZ. Brooklyn is a district about 3 miles north west of the airport.]

Despite residents’ complaints, Civil Aviation officials say there has not been any change to flight paths.

A Civil Aviation spokesman said there had been no changes to rules that might relate flights over Wellington.

“We make sure airlines and airports operate within rulings, and Wellington airport is doing that,” he said.

Wellington International Airport’s manager of property and planning, Mike Brown, said there had been no breach of rules, and no particular changes that would suggest a significant increase in flights over specific areas.

Brown discussed the issues raised by residents at Wellington Airport’s noise management committee meeting earlier this year.

The committee noted that the “unseasonably good weather” during summer, with typically light northerly or southerly conditions, was likely to have affected aircraft operations.

Nevertheless, Brooklyn residents were adamant there was a problem and that planes were flying lower than previously.

After months of emails, letters and phone calls, they wanted those in charge to take action.

Brooklyn resident Catharine Underwood said she noticed the noise and low-flying planes about a year ago.

Underwood said she was sick of the noise pollution and wanted those in charge to front up and ensure planes flight paths returned to where they had been for years.

“I would like to see people who say they represent Wellington and Wellingtonians take notice of the issue,” she said.

“Do we want to be the noisiest little capital or the coolest little capital?”

Underwood has sought answers by writing letters and emailing Civil Aviation, Lambton ward city councillors, the mayor, Wellington International Airport and the MPs for State Services and Wellington Central.

In turn they had either failed to reply, said it was not their responsibility, or agreed there should be changes, she said.

Underwood said she understood planes have to fly somewhere, but questioned whether that should be at the expense of quiet suburban living.

After living in Brooklyn for 21 years, and having no issues with low-flying planes, she said it was a shock to be sitting in her garden almost able to see the pilot’s eyes.

“The small planes were flying so low. I thought one particular plane was about to crash.”

The planes wake Underwood up at 12.30am, 4am and 6am as they drone their way over Brooklyn, she said.

“The noise from the jets flying to Auckland, Dunedin or Christchurch is loud and quite scary.”

The Wellington City Council said it does do not have any jurisdiction over aircraft once they are in flight.




See also:


Residents in Auckland, New Zealand, fighting the noise nuisance of planes over the city

People in Auckland New Zealand, are fighting the nuisance of aircraft noise, which has become a serious problem in recent years. The airport is close to the city, and aircraft frequently use flight paths over densely populated areas, as they turn either when landing or taking off. The problem has been made worse in the past year, because concentrated flight paths are being used, in the same way that is happening in UK, Europe, USA and everywhere.  The concentrated routes are causing a lot of anger and distress. The local group is Auckland: The Plane Truth (ATPT), working hard to restore some peace and quiet for Auckland residents. ATPT says: “At the least, the noise is physically and emotionally taxing: at the worst, unbearable. Unable to cope, some residents have been forced to move house or to take medication  for depression and anxiety, and so they can sleep.” There is a petition, asking for a curfew at night, between 10pm and 7am because of the recent changes to flight procedures over Auckland, and the planned significant increases in traffic through Auckland Airport. The type of houses in Auckland, have weatherboard with tin roofing and single glazing. These are difficult to insulate against noise, exacerbating the problem.




Plane noise complaints fall on deaf ears

30.5.2014 (   New Zealand)

Concerns about noisy aircraft have fallen on deaf ears with a report saying a trial flight path into Auckland Airport created no significant extra noise.

The draft report released today found noise from the new Smart Approaches flight approaches were “only just perceptible to the human ear”.

An independent acoustic measurement found the more direct routes were 3 decibels higher in most areas, except Reinheimer Place in Flat Bush where the difference was 7 decibels.

The release of the report followed complaints from residents in several suburbs that had not previously had planes flying overhead.

Resident action group “The Plane Truth” said 446 people signed its online petition opposing the trial route.

It described the new path as “intolerable noise pollution” that was “bringing radical changes to once peaceful neighbourhoods”.

The effects of the trial were felt in Mt Albert, Mt Eden, Epsom, Royal Oak, One Tree Hill, Onehunga, Oranga and as far afield as Greenlane and the Remuera Victoria Ave ridge, it said.

But the draft report found that while individual flights in the trial had “marginally higher noise levels, the difference was not regarded as significant”.

It stated that out of 2000 public submissions, only a quarter of the complaints referred to flights that were actually part of the Smart Approaches trial.

The other 76 per cent related to existing flight paths.

Auckland Airport, Airways New Zealand and the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand confirmed the trial would return early next year, with minor changes.

The modified flight paths would see aircraft cross the navigational point above Mt Albert and Dominion Roads, 800 feet higher than the trial altitude, reducing engine power and noise and enabling a more continuous descent.

Another modification was to increase maximum permitted aircraft speed, to reduce the use of speed brakes, which were a significant contributor to aircraft noise.

The Smart Approaches trial ran between November 2012 and October 2013 in a bid to improve aircraft efficiency and reduce the impact of aircraft noise on the community.

It has drawn the ire of residents since it was first reported in May last year.

Lorraine Clark, a Royal Oak member of The Plane Truth, said she was surprised the report suggested “media coverage as being the cause of the significant increase in complaints”.

An Onehunga resident, who did not wish to be named, said earlier this month that fuel savings should not take priority over the welfare or quality of life of residents.

“I am usually a deep sleeper and never wake up during the night,” the resident said.

“But I have been woken as late as 2am and as early as 6am on numerous occasions by noisy planes. They roar, whine and thunder past every day now and I’ve had enough.”

Jann McMichael of Royal Oak said planes flying over her area was “a huge disturbance”.

Auckland Airport general manager of aeronautical operations Judy Nicholl thanked the community for its feedback on the trial.

“We believe the recommendations in the draft report respond appropriately to both community concern and the aviation objectives of the trial,” she said.

“We now look forward to receiving public feedback on the recommendations.”