Badgerys Creek Airport and Yerranderie

NEWSFLASH 27th June 2023: The Government has released proposed flight paths. We published the page below in April and the new flight paths are pretty similar to our predictions. The noticeable difference is that the new inbound path to Badgerys Creek is slightly to the north of where we thought. We described our predicted paths as making little difference to Yerranderie. The announced paths mean that there will be virtually no difference to the current situation here. The ABC has a good summary of the new flight paths.

Our Article from April….

The new airport at Badgerys Creek will have just one runway aligned to the north east and south west…. and It points straight at Yerranderie!

The flight paths for the new Western Sydney Airport, also known as the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport, have not yet been finalised. The airport is scheduled to open in 2026 so we asked some aviation professionals for their opinions on what they thought would be the likely effects of the new airport on our area.

We stress that this is an opinion article. Here are the questions we asked….

So, how does the Air Traffic Control System currently work in our region?

The approaches to Sydney are divided into air traffic control “sectors”. Each sector is the area of responsibility of a different air traffic controller. The sector over Yerranderie has been an established inbound route for around 60 years and to our north near Katoomba is the sector which has had the corresponding outbound route for the same period.

The image below shows, with blue and cyan track lines, a composite of actual recent flights derived from Flight Radar 24. The inbound flights shown which passed near Yerranderie are from Kuala Lumpur, Broken Hill, Canberra and Wagga. The outbound flights to our north and passing closer to Katoomba are heading to Singapore, Perth and Dubbo,

The outbound and inbound routes are separated and contained in different sectors which minimises the chance of conflicts. We are confining this discussion to the two western sectors which impact the Blue Mountains.

The aircraft above Yerranderie are descending with low power settings which reduces the noise impact considerably.


The routes that aircraft follow were traditionally aligned to radio navigation beacons at Bindook (near Yerranderie) and Katoomba. With the advent of GPS satellite navigation, beacons like Bindook have been decommissioned but the procedures which have been honed over many years have not changed much with the removal of the beacon.

The sectors which effect the Blue Mountains are used for aircraft arriving and departing Sydney for Asia, the Middle East, Europe and inland Regional Australia. Aircraft movements to the Americas, Pacific, Melbourne, Coastal NSW and Queensland are routed well east of Yerranderie and have no real impact on us. Richmond military restricted airspace is just to the north of Katoomba and generally not available to civilian aircraft.

These sectors and routes have been well established for the whole of the Jet age and procedures are very firmly entrenched and understood by Air Traffic Controllers and Pilots.

Will Air Services retain these existing Inbound and Outbound Sectors?

For many years Air Services have repeatedly ruled out changes to this arrangement. They have been dealing with noise complaints from residents all over Sydney for a very long time but have consistently refused to embrace any significant changes on safety grounds.

From the Air Services Investigation report July 2016….

Moving sector boundaries to accommodate a flight path change is also not a feasible or practical option. Sector boundaries cannot be easily moved without affecting other sectors and the routes within them. This would require a broader re-design of the airspace. Further, because each sector corresponds to the area of responsibility for an air traffic controller, any change to sector boundaries would require comprehensive re-training. This would have significant time and cost implications.

The report went on to talk about changes to the Katoomba outbound sector as a result of the noise complaints they have received from Blue Mountains residents.

Given the constraints of military airspace restrictions, air traffic control sector boundary requirements, and route segregation requirements, moving the Katoomba waypoint for departing aircraft would adversely impact on safety and is not considered operationally feasible.

If the Yerranderie inbound sector was to change, Air Services would have to do a complete redesign the whole Sydney air traffic system. It would be a massive undertaking with considerable cost, safety and re-training implications. It would also require wide scale community consultation. There would be many winners and many losers on the noise impacts, no doubt with complaints and protests by the losers and subsequent political implications.

The current system has worked well for many years so we think that Air Services will stick with the tried and proven inbound and outbound sectors and just slot Badgerys Creek aircraft into the existing traffic routes in and out of Sydney. If this is the case we can be fairly confident that Yerranderie will remain underneath the inbound sector for aircraft arriving from the south west, west and north west. The red arrows on the image above show where the inbound traffic in our region will likely separate off towards Badgerys Creek Airport. This concept is largely consistent with the “Point Merge” system which is in place in many countries. The red arrows also show how departing aircraft from Badgerys would likely join the outbound procession to the west.

Aircraft heading for Badgerys Creek may track inbound over Yerranderie a little lower than at present but not too much….they still have to remain clear overhead of the General Aviation (GA) aircraft traffic at Camden Airport and the new Oaks Airport development as well as the GA training areas and transit lanes at and north of Camden. Aircraft departing from Badgerys Creek will soon after take off be likely slotted in to and merge with Kingsford Smith departures and then follow the current outbound sectors.

If Yerranderie remains under the inbound sector, we think that there will not be a significant increase in aircraft noise levels but of course it is likely that there will be more aircraft movements as time goes by.

Once again we stress that this is an opinion piece. Air Services are currently keeping their deliberations on flight paths very quiet.