Here is a fact: fog occurs approximately 30 times more often at Badgerys Creek than at Sydney KSA (see BoM analysis page 33 in relation to Table 6-1).

This estimate is actually made for Camden airport since observations were never made for Badgerys Creek (how many years is this site being considered?). And "senior meteorologists experienced in forecasting for the Sydney Basin suggest that fog at Badgerys Creek is likely to occur more often than fog at Camden Airport. However without adequate instrumentation it is impossible to confirm the frequency of fog at Badgerys Creek."


Airport operations disruptions due to fog

The FAQ page at WSA dedicate a bullet-item on the impacts of fog on airport operation:

Will fog reduce the operational capacity of the airport?

The analysis of the proposed Western Sydney Airport takes into account the meteorological conditions at the site. It is recognised that fog in Western Sydney is possible during all months of the year, and often for extended periods of time.

While fog is relatively common in Western Sydney, it is not unique and many high functioning airports in Australia and around the world face similar issues. Modern airport and aviation technology and processes mean that aircraft can land safely in dense fog and when visibility is low.

However, this statement is not entirely truthful. It is easy to find many media articles which reveals that fog events do tend to disrupt the operations of Kingsford-Smith airport (KSA), which is by all means a modern airport with a final approach options that are arguably less exotic than at Badgerys Creek.

For example:

  • SMH: "Surprise fog creates delays at Sydney Airport" (here).
  • SMH: "Dense fog covers Sydney, flights delayed" (here).
  • Daily Telegraph: "Groundfog day as mist rolls into Sydney for third consecutive day" (here).


This shows that fog events can and indeed do disrupt flight operations and thus one would assume that in such event flights to WSA would be diverted to KSA - at any hour of day - so no curfew in Mascot either.


Fog events in Badgerys Creek:

The key question is how many? How many fog events occur at Badgerys Creek?

For this we go back to WSA website and use the relevant review made by the Bureau of Meteorology (see review here).

Of interest is the figure that lists the number of fog days in the region, where visibility falls below 1000 meters (see below). It is easy to see that the area is highly susceptible to fog events.

fog-figure-6.1.png

The duration of these events is also of interest and shows that fog events of 4 hours or more can be found throughout the year.

fog-figure-6.4.png

We also not the comparison to other airports such as KSA, Richmond and Canberra which shows that this location is easily the worst affected of the lot. Not surprising considering topography and surrounding features.

The implication of this is that when these events occur flights may be diverted to KSA, therefore, in these cases a no curfew airport really means no curfew in the Sydney basin in general.