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Byron Shire
March 24, 2023

Lismore airport supported by community

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Lismore airport.

Responses to a community survey by Lismore City Council show that there is overwhelming support for a regional airport at Lismore.

Council says that respondents said the economic benefits of the airport and employment opportunities were important to respondents.

The survey, conducted via the Council’s Your Say Lismore community consultation website, asked residents about aircraft noise and what they wanted for the future use of the airport. One thousand responses were received.

Council says the survey found the key benefits were passenger flights (94 per cent), aeromedical (97 per cent), aviation training (89 per cent), freight (90 per cent) and employment (92 per cent).

Asked about aircraft noise, 85.2 per cent of respondents said noise levels were no higher than five years ago.

A breakdown of how often respondents are affected by aircraft noise found 8.4 per cent were impacted every day, 14.5 per cent a few days a week, 10.8 per cent at least once a week, 11.2 per cent once a month and 55.1 per cent not at all.

Aircraft noise

Of those affected by aircraft noise, most were affected between 7am and 7pm any day of the week.

Asked about pilot training at the airport, a majority of respondents saw value in its economic benefits (91 per cent), employment opportunities (92 per cent), provision of high-quality training (87 per cent) and safety of aircraft operations 91 per cent).

Just over 83 per cent of respondents said they wanted to see more pilot training offered at the airport in the future, while 1.2 per cent indicated there should be none and 6.4 per cent wanted training levels reduced.

Almost 16 per cent of respondents said it was very important to reduce noise associated with training and 21 per cent indicated it was very important to reduce airspace congestion.

Council says the airport currently generates more than $26 million annually for the local economy and directly creates 57 jobs, in addition to 26 indirect jobs. Pre-COVID, the airport catered for 12,000 flying passengers annually.

In addition to commercial passenger flights, the Lismore Regional Airport provides local air freight, aeromedical services for Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Angel Flight, Little Wings, Air Ambulance, Royal Flying Doctors, special doner transport services, emergency services such as fire fighting, charter flights and supports Car hire companies that are based there.

Airport history goes back to 1920

Constructed in 1968, the airport’s history goes back even further to 1920 when the country’s first Airmail service was launched between Lismore and Tenterfield, and on 11 June 1933, Sir Charlies Kingsford-Smith made history when he landed his plane, The Southern Cross, at the airport.

The data gathered from the survey will assist in ongoing community engagement as part of master planning to meet future needs and upgrading infrastructure at Lismore Regional Airport.

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  1. Lismore had an airport before Ballina. Ballina has about 300000 passengers a year. Lismore 12000. There must be some massive opportunities for Lismore to expand.

  2. The point that 85.2% of respondents said that aeroplane noise levels were no more than 5 years ago brings into question the validity of this survey and community support it purports. Lismore council serves a large area. It seems that 852 of the 1000 responders of this survey, must live outside of earshot of the airplanes. Anyone living within the vicinity of the airport or under the flight paths circuits of the air schools would clearly confirm that the noise pollution from the flights that are often low level, repeated (sometimes every 10 minutes hour on end), and at any time of the day or night on any day, has definitely increased in recent years. Many of those who may be negatively affected by the increased air school activity may not have realised there was a survey and therefore not really “had their say” or been heard.

    As evidenced from a petition circulated earlier in the year, many people are clearly aggrieved that the peace of their neighbourhood has been disturbed. In that strongly supported petition, most were supportive of normal commercial and rescue flight services. However, most were concerned and worried by the burgeoning flight schools. As a psychologist who has served my beloved Lismore community since 1993, I am very concerned about the mental health impact of the noise of these flights on those who suffer with stress disorders such as PTSD (complex and other), children at the local school(s) who may have cognitive attention issues, as well as those who simply appreciate the psychological benefits of quietude in the refuge of their peaceful homes.

    The unpredictability and uncertainty of when and where the flights may occur over residential areas increases the stress that many in our neighbourhood endure.

    We do not want thriving businesses destroyed but would appreciate some respect and consideration. It seems that there are no regulations about how low, when or where these flights go. Perhaps there could be some compromises. As one example, perhaps every Sunday could be an air school flight free day. Some of our fears from the seemingly positive results of this survey are that they may give free licence to these flights schools to grow and to do what they want, when they want it, without consideration for those suffering within earshot on the ground below. For many of us long term residents and ratepayers the experience of being disregarded feels like an injustice and a betrayal.

  3. As a near resident of the airport there is no doubt that precovid on multiple occasions the frequency and noise levels from planes increased markedly…My issue isnt with flight training schools,however ,sitting down for breakfast on the back deck on a Sunday morning and have a plane fly almost directly overhead every 15 mins ..well?

  4. The house I live in was built well before the airport was constructed 1968, as were most houses in the Girards Hill, South and East Lismore areas, and to simply move is not an option. Living in these areas has been relatively peaceful until the flight training schools moved in and now conduct numerous circuits every day, and sometimes all day, when not affected by cover restrictions. The Airport runway is designated as a North to South runway which means pilot training aircraft take off and turn left to fly in circuits inside the Girards Hill ridge over residential areas, continue at low altitude over South and North Lismore before landing then taking off again for as many as 10 circuits. This does have an impact on the mental health of many residents disturbed by the excessive noise, especially if the planes are Beech Barons or Duchess twin engines. There are plans to upgrade the airport to encourage more flight training school activity, which I am not against, but there definitely needs to be a plan to reduce the endless noise disturbance these planes inflict on formerly quiet residential areas.

    • Yes Jude – that is a very fair analysis of this continuing & blatant disregard over noxious aircraft noise from LIsmore AP.
      I do challenge the veracity of this “poll”. It is against the best interests of long-standing ratepayers.
      Most participants in this “survey” would live well away from the areas adversely affected. Certainly only a select few would be on the LCC ‘Your Say” e-mail list.
      Management skill is definitely lacking over negotiating some m ore sensible flight rules and circuiting.
      Of course Lismore City Council know very how to skew a poll – then do whatever they wanted in the first place.
      Then when the results are in, they say it’s ‘democracy in action” and 87% fully agree with their original plans !
      If our ever-devious LCC did a proper targeted survey (as opposed to their whole district white-wash) results would be overwhelmingly against yet more lazy use of Robinsons Lookout as a ‘circuiting pivot’ which badly affects 2(a) & Heritage residential areas such as Girards Hill and surrounds.
      Read our Petition again please – LCC management and especially our new counsellors.
      ( Note: Kingsford Smith/airmail flights didn’t use the present airport as suggested, it was the old air-strip off River Bank Road, Monaltrie.)


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