A proposal from the Greens to cap flights and impose a curfew at Brisbane Airport could send already rising airfare prices sky high, according to the airport.
The proposal comes from inner city Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather to return the Brisbane Airport Curfew and Demand Management Bill that lapsed when the last election was called.
The bill looks to cap the number of flights at Brisbane Airport to 45 per hour, well below the airport’s capacity of 110 an hour, alongside the night-time curfew.
Chandler-Mather argued that action was needed considering Brisbane Airport received more noise complaints than all other airports in the country combined, per Airservices Australia statistics.
“We have flights screeching over people’s houses at 2.30 in the morning at unacceptably regular intervals, exposing people to damaging noise pollution,” Chandler-Mather said.
“We know that it has a huge impact on people’s health.”
The Greens MP argued that his party was seeking what is already in place at Sydney Airport, and “if it was good enough for Sydney, it should be good enough for Brisbane residents.”
Sydney Airport currently has a curfew between 11pm and 6am, alongside a cap on flight movements of 80 an hour.
The move received backlash from Brisbane Airport Corporations head of public affairs Stephen Beckett, who said the proposed restrictions could lead to a sharp increase in airfares.
“The bigger aircraft going to capital cities and overseas would have priority over smaller flights, which would mean fewer services to places like Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Mt Isa,” Beckett said.
“In that sort of constrained environment, the most profitable routes would remain and people who live in the regions would be competing with mining companies for seats and paying exorbitant prices as a result.”
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka spoke out against the proposal in September, warning that it could push ticket prices “out of reach financially” for most people.
“The challenge is that if you reduce the capacity that’s available out of an airport then you reduce the amount of supply in and out of that airport and that means the prices are going to go up because there won’t be enough supply to meet the demand,” Hrdlicka said at a BNE Enterprise function earlier in the year.
“We don’t want air travel to be something that only the wealthy can afford.”