Australian Government guidance on the Optus data breach

Curfew at Sydney Airport

Summary of Key Features

  • The rules for the curfew at Sydney Airport are laid down in the Sydney Airport Curfew Act 1995.
  • The curfew operates from 11pm until 6am
    • during this period take-offs and landings at the Airport are restricted to specific types of aircraft and operations.
  • The principal categories of permitted operations are as follows
    • small (less than 34,000kg) noise certificated propeller driven aircraft and ‘low noise’ jets (mostly business and ‘small’ freight jets—as specified in the Sydney Airport Curfew (Curfew Aircraft) Instrument 2015) are allowed to operate without a quota on the number of their movements
    • Qantas Airways Ltd, Toll Transport Pty Ltd, Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd and Cobham Aviation Services have specific approval to operate a limited number of freight movements per week in low noise heavy freight aircraft:
      • Qantas Airways quota is 27 BAe-146 movements per week
      • Virgin Australia Airlines quota is 18 BAe-146 movements per week
      • Toll Transport’s quota is 1 BAe-146 movement per week
      • Cobham Aviation Services quota is 28 BAe-146 movements per week.
    • the Act provides for international passenger movements between 11pm and midnight and between 5am and 6am (the curfew shoulder periods) subject to
      • jet aircraft meeting the strictest ICAO noise standards (Chapter 3)
      • no more than 24 movements per week (no more than 5 on any one day) between 5am and 6am, which may only be landings [quota set by Regulation]
      • zero movements between 11pm and midnight [quota set by Regulation].
  • During the curfew aircraft must operate over Botany Bay, that is take-offs to the south and landings to the north
    • on Saturdays and Sundays aircraft must also operate over Botany Bay in the hour before and after the curfew, provided the weather and traffic conditions allow this to take place safely
    • aircraft are not permitted to take off over the suburbs after 10.45pm.
  • The curfew restrictions do not apply in cases of emergency.
  • In exceptional circumstances the Minister may grant dispensations for aircraft to operate when they would not otherwise be allowed to do so. These must be issued in accordance with guidelines which define what are ‘exceptional circumstances‘.
    • when a dispensation is granted a report giving the reasons for the dispensation must be tabled in both Houses of the Federal Parliament.
  • The Act provides for fines up to $1,050,000 for a body corporate.
  • Before the Act can be amended a formal community consultation process must be carried out.
  • The Act provides that once Sydney West Airport is capable of handling the traffic, entitlements for movements by the ‘medium size’ freight aircraft, propeller driven aircraft and the ‘low noise’ jets will cease.

List of “low noise” jets approved to operate during the curfew period under Section 15 of the Act:

The Sydney Airport Curfew (Curfew Aircraft) Instrument 2015 (the Sydney Instrument) specifying jet aircraft permitted to take-off or land during a curfew period took effect on 13 February 2015.  The Sydney Instrument allows newer, quieter aircraft to operate during the curfew. The Sydney Instrument listing the types of aircraft that are permitted to operate are listed at The list of permitted models can be viewed below.

List of business Jets permitted to operate during the curfew period

  • BAe125-800B/ BAe125-1000A/ BAe125-1000B
  • BAe/ de Havilland/ Hawker Siddeley 125 Series 400A/ F3B/ F400B++/ F403B/ F600B**/ 700A**++/ 700B**++/ 800A
  • Beech 400A/ Beechjet 400A++/ Hawker 400XP**/ Hawker 400T**
  • Beechcraft 4000
  • Bombardier BD-7001A10(Global Express)/ BD700-1A11 (Global 5000)/ BD100-1A10 (Challenger 300/350)/ CL-600-1A11 (CL-600)/CL-600-2A12 (Challenger 601)/ CL-600-2B16 (Challenger 601-3A/ 604/604DX/ 605)/ CL-600-2B19 (CRJ100/200)/ CL-600-2C10 (CRJ700)/ CL-600-2D15 (CRJ705)/ CL-600-2D24 (CRJ900)/ CL-600-2E25(CRJ1000).
  • Canadair Challenger 300/ 601/ 604
  • Cessna 500/ 510/ 525/525A/ 525B/ 525C/ 550/ 552/ 560/ 560XL/ 560XLS/ 650**/ 680/ 750
  • Dassault Falcon Mystere 20 series C++/ Mystere 20 Series D++/ Mystere 20 Series E++/ Mystere 20 Series F++/ Mystere 20 Series G++/ 10/ 20C-C5/ 20-D5/ 20-E5/ 20-F5/ 50/ 50EX/ 200/ 900/ 2000/ 7X/ 900C/ 900EX/ 2000EX/
  • Embraer145/ 145ER/ 145MR/ 145LR/ 135ER/ 135LR/ 135KE/ 135KL/ 135BJ/ 135BJ/ 145XR/ 145MP/ 145EP/ 500/ 505
  • Global Express
  • Global 5000
  • Gulfstream IV/ Galaxy/ 100/ G150/ G200/ G280/ GVI(650)/ 650ER/ GIV-X / G150/ SP/ G300/ G350/ G400/ G450/ G-V/ G500/G550/
  • Hawker 800XP/850XP/Horizon /900XP/Hawker 1000/Hawker 750
  • Learjet 24/24A/24B/24B-A/24C/24D/24D-A/24E/24F/24F-A/ 25 /25A/ 25B/ 25C/ 25D/ 25F/ 28/ 29/ 31/ 31A/ 35/ 35A/ 36/ 36A/ 40/ 45/ 45XR/ 55/ 55B/ 55C/ 60
  • Legacy EMB-135
  • Mitsubishi MU-300**
  • Premier 1/1A
  • Westwind 1121/1121B/1123/1124/ 1124A/1125/Astra SPX

** Grandfathered until 31 December 2022
++  Models of these aircraft which exceed 271 decibels noise total are not permitted to operate.  Remaining models in this type are grandfathered until 2022.