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Aucklanders start war against flight path

SHABNAM DASTGHEIB
Last updated 14:44 30/04/2014

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Protesters who liken proposed new flight paths over Auckland to an "air war" have begun an advertising campaign to spread their message.

The campaign, called Auckland: The Plane Truth, is running anonymously funded newspaper advertisements against proposed aviation procedures.

Auckland Airport says the changes are designed to improve aircraft efficiency and reduce noise.

People in One Tree Hill, Epsom, Mt Roskill, Onehunga and Royal Oak have said they noticed an increase in aircraft noise during the trial, which included Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar and ended in October.

The airport plans to release a draft report on the year-long trial at the end of next month. It originally planned a March release but that was delayed after it was decided more time was needed to investigate community feedback and technical information.

A final report would be issued later this year.

But residents angry about aircraft flying overhead have spoken out in a full-page advertisement in the New Zealand Herald today.

"We left a large, stressful society for the peaceful existence New Zealand promised, only to find ourselves in the middle of an air war," one resident said.

"For the first time in my life I've had to take medication to sleep, " another resident said.

The ad goes on to say that residents are tired of "being disregarded and patronised" and that the noise of the planes lasts longer and is louder.

In a statement released separately, the group said people were fearful of the smart approaches and their effects on their environment.

"Significant numbers have already moved out of affected areas; others are contemplating this step dependent on the stakeholders' assessment of the trial."

The group said it hoped the timing of its campaign would give Auckland Airport and Airways New Zealand "pause for concern" in their assessment of the trial.

It wanted more serious attention given to residents' concerns.

Though some areas might have been experiencing less noise recently there were no assurances that this would always be the case, the group said.

Group co-organiser Lorraine Clark said the airport was using a divide and rule strategy on those affected and the purpose of the campaign was to bring as many people together as they could.

"We are not all mad, what they want the general public to believe is we are all cranks. It's a very personal thing and some people are quite emotional about it."

Clark said aircraft flight paths should not be something that anyone should have to get used to.

Smart approaches are curved approaches to the runway and are a part of a worldwide drive by the aviation industry and regulators to improve flight paths.

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The curved approach means aircraft travel shorter distances and reduce fuel consumption.

- Fairfax Media

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