New runway air jam fear
by STEEL TALLON
THE number of flights over Brisbane suburbs is set to almost double if a parallel runway goes ahead at the city's airport.
More than 100,000 residents face the thunder and buzz of a plane every three minutes, according to critics of the plan.
Airservices Australia figures show there are more than 430 take-offs and landings at the airport each day.
Federal Labor MP for Griffith Kevin Rudd said airport projections showed about 170 of those flights went over the suburbs.
That number was forecast to increase to about 280 a day by 2006, when the parallel runway was expected to be finished - if it goes ahead.
Most flights were between 6am and 9pm so there would be one flight every three minutes over suburban Brisbane.
Mr Rudd said there was no doubt another runway was needed. But a parallel runway - the option overwhelmingly favoured by the Brisbane Airport Corporation - would send more planes over long- suffering southern and northern suburbs, he said.
More than 4000 people from those suburbs such as Hamilton, Hendra, Northgate, Nudgee, Bulimba, Cannon Hill and Murarrie, turned out for a protest rally last month.
The BAC has argued a parallel runway would allow aircraft to take off and land in opposite directions.
This would take planes out over the waters of Moreton Bay most of the time.
Exactly what percentage of planes would remain over the suburbs is unclear because the BAC says it's not in a position to make such a prediction.
Mr Rudd said prevailing winds at the airport meant the same percentage of planes would remain over the same suburbs if the parallel runway were built.
But he said it remained unclear how feasible the development of a cross- runway, running north-west to south- east, was because there was no independent study.
The airport's master plan was endorsed last month by Federal Transport Minister John Anderson despite it failing to include any other recommended options apart from the parallel runway.
Mr Rudd said the Senate was expected to vote this week on a planned inquiry into that master plan.
Labor was confident the inquiry would be given the go-ahead, with the Democrats and Greens showing support and key Independent Brian Harradine hopefully coming on board.
The inquiry would examine issues including whether BAC failed to fully investigate alternative runway options; whether it failed to release flight path information; and the adequacy of public consultation.
The Sunday Mail March 14, 1999 page 33.
last update 24 Oct 1999
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