One man upset by early morning flights into Sydney airport

Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
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RESERVE MINES — One man wants to see an end  to 3 a.m. flights at the Sydney airport.

Reserve Mines resident Cotter Oliver says planes landing and taking off from the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport have been disrupting his sleep. He says flights should be prohibited from flying to or from the airport between midnight and 6 a.m.

Cotter Oliver of Reserve Mines said his house is "on the fringe of the glide path" for a flight which arrives at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport at 3 a.m.

"It’s quite loud — a roar,” he said. "When you are awoke at that time, then you can't get back to sleep. "

Oliver said he's not against more flights to Sydney, but feels flights should be prohibited between midnight and 6 a.m.

" I'm in favour of it, just not at 3 a.m. over my house. I don't know how many flights come in a day, but they have 18  other hours to work with."

Oliver has complained to officials at the airport, Cape Breton Regional Municipality District 9 Coun. George MacDonald as well as Rick Fraser, manager of buildings and bylaws.

“I found out this noise is not covered in the (noise) bylaw so the idea is to get a bylaw out there to cover it," said Oliver.

Sydney Airport Authority CEO Helen MacInnis confirmed the Sydney airport has received a complaint.

"We are sensitive to this concern and are checking into it."

MacInnis said there is one charter flight that arrives and departs around 2:30 a.m. two or three nights a week, adding that airport officials are thrilled the number of flights in and out of the airport have increased this year.

“We currently have three daily flights direct between Sydney and Toronto — Air Canada has two flights per day and WestJet has one. We also have five flights per day between Sydney and Halifax and a number of charter flights every week.”

She said this is a small regional airport and everyone has been working  hard to increase air service to and from Sydney with an “open and ready for business” approach.

"We are listening to the concerns of the community with regard to increasing air service and we realize the airport is vital to tourism and the economic growth of Cape Breton Island. Our focus is on modernizing the facilities and improving customer service so we can meet the needs of today’s travellers."

George MacDonald said he looked into the muicipality's noise bylaw and it does not cover aircraft, adding Oliver will have to take up the complaint with the airport authority.

However MacDonald said Oliver wants a bylaw which will restrict air traffic coming to the area at night and that will never happen.

"We are trying to encourage the airport, to motivate them to bring in as much air traffic as they can," he said.

MacDonald said he sympathizes with Oliver, but no one wants to see flights decreased at the Sydney airport.

"They're not going to restrict flights, we're trying to encourage more flights, to get WestJet here year-round, we're actually encouraging flights."

MacDonald said the flight path is over his own house as well and "sometimes it wakes you, but how can you stop commercial traffic? We're trying to promote that."

According to information on the Nav Canada website, airport authorities determine what noise abatement procedures should be used at a specific airport in order to mitigate the impact of aircraft operations on neighbouring communities. Abatement procedures are approved by Transport Canada and are official when they are published in the Canada Air Pilot.


Organizations: J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport, Sydney Airport Authority, Air Canada Nav Canada Transport Canada Canada Air Pilot

Geographic location: Sydney, Toronto, Halifax Cape Breton Island

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