Blue Mountains Conservation Society
Our mission is to help conserve the natural environment of the Greater Blue Mountains
and to increase awareness of the natural environment in general.


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AIRCRAFT EMISSIONS OVER SYDNEY

 

©Ross Coster
[Convenor of Blue Mountains Conservation Society No Badgerys Creek Airport Subcommittee]



In this article I am going to be very parochial.
We know that Aircraft leaving the proposed Western Sydney Airport will consume 986 million litres of jet fuel per annum in 2030, because the draft EIS says so.

Burning this fuel will generate 2.5 million tonnes of CO2e per annum. This is also in the draft EIS, buried in an appendix.
But how much of this fuel will be burned in the Sydney Basin?

Every aircraft movement, taking off or landing, will spend about 50km of the flight in the Sydney basin.
We know that 50% of these flights will be 'short haul' flights to and from Melbourne and Brisbane, 20% will be 'medium haul' domestic flights to and from other cities, and 30% will be 'long haul' International flights to and from overseas.
Assuming a mix of Airbus A321, Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 aircraft are used (these are the latest models used for these types of flights), and the 10 million passenger movements per annum predicted in the Draft EIS, we get numbers like these:

Destinations Plane Seats Fuel Consumed
Over Sydney
Flights
Per Annum

Litres
Per Annum

Melbourne, Brisbane Airbus A321 180 225 litres 34.000 7.5 million
Adelaide, Cairns, Perth Boeing 787-8 238 318 litres 10,000 3 million
Singapore, Dubai, Dallas Airbus A380 525 858 litres 7,000 6 million
       
TOTAL:
  16.5 million


This fuel consumption is like running 5,000 V8 Commodores for 25,000km each every year.

The burned fuel will generate 44,000 tonnes per annum of CO2e, in the Sydney Basin, and millions of tonnes more over the lengths of the flights.

Is it OK to add 5,000 V8 Commodores to the skies over Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains?

Is it OK to add 2.5 million tonnes more CO2e per annum to the global atmosphere?

How do we achieve emissions reductions, while also building long-life infrastructure that will generate massive emissions?

Over the period 2030 to 2060, emissions from Western Sydney Airport will climb by 8 times, while we are committed to zero net emissions by 2050.

The planes will run on jet fuel, as there is no viable alternative fuel on the horizon.

The burned jet fuel will generate gases and particles into the atmosphere.

Our surface transport will be increasingly hybrid, electric and rail-based, as we strive to reduce emissions on the ground. Reduce them much faster than the Airport pushes them up we hope!

The most interesting part in the draft EIS for me was the idea that CO2e emissions for Aircraft are only counted as Airport emissions when the planes are on the ground. Once they take off and leave the Airport, they become Airline Industry emissions!

Emissions are emissions, wherever they happen, they change the Global atmosphere, they cause global warming, they expose us and the World Heritage Area around us to gases and particles that we should not be breathing, and we must stop this happening.

NO AIRPORT!

 

© Ross Coster
nwsa@bluemountains.org.au