Live close to an airport? Then you must be used to the noise, vibration and all those things that come with living near a major airport like Kingsford Smith in Sydney. For an aviation lover like myself, it is great to be able to see planes every day. For ten years I sat at my desk and watched the planes taking off and landing from Kingsford Smith. For me, it was the best view I could have in my office. But I understand that those who may not be so keen on aviation may find it a nuisance. But it doesn’t matter where in the world you live, there always be debate about airports. For 30 years I lived close to Portela Airport, Lisbon and then I lived in Wolli Creek for 10, which is right next to Kingsford Smith in Sydney, and in both cases, I’ve seen the same arguments being put forward and the same debates.
Airports should be far from cities
When I was living in Lisbon I’ve always come across the same argument “the airport should be far from the city centre and linked to the city by a good network of transport”. If we look at history and we see the development of Lisbon and Sydney, you will see that when the airport was built it wasn’t very close to the population hubs. But once it was built, the infrastructure was created to serve it and of course, that lead to residential areas being built around it. Believe the same happened in Sydney. So, if you build a second airport 30km away from the city, in 10 years that place will become a city itself. Then we will have the old argument again.
Safety, traffic, noise and curfews
Another argument we hear is about safety. If you live in a place like Sydenham, in Sydney, you will be familiar with seeing a Boeing 747 flying so low that looks like it’s going to crash into your car. Because of that, a few years ago the Government bought houses in one street, so they wouldn’t be affected by the trepidation and noise caused by planes flying so low. The traffic and noise are usually significantly high near a major airport, that is why many cities impose a curfew. That is what happens in Sydney, no flights are allowed in or out of the airport between 11 pm and 6 am.
But if you live next to the airport …
Living close to the airport brings a few benefits and a few disadvantages. If you are a frequent flyer, and even if you’re not, you may save money going to and from the airport. For example, I remember it was possible to walk from home to the International Terminal at Kingsford Smith when I was living in Wolli Creek. An Ubër or cab would also be reasonable because it was a very short trip. But you will have to live with the noise and traffic associated with it. I agree with curfews and rules to protect residents from excessive noise at night, but I also understand that when we decide to live in those areas we have to accept there will be some noise.
Technology evolves and so do planes. The new planes are designed to be more energy-efficient, lighter, environmentally friendly and of course, quieter. Because this means more profitability for those planes and in the current situation, airlines desperately need all help to get profitable again.
In the future, this efficiency may mean the end of curfews, if planes get to an acceptable noise level. We’re still a long way away from that, but I believe it will happen eventually.