The city of Brisbane, eastern Australia, may see a revision to its airspace rules as the city council seeks to aid the growth of taller buildings within the city centre. The aim is to help accommodate the development of 50 new high-rise buildings over the next 20 years .
Current Aviation Limitations
Large cities and airports go hand in hand. Safe and efficient transport infrastructure links are key to sustaining and driving growth within the city. Continued growth leads to the requirement for more office and living space. This can sometimes mean expanding upwards rather than outwards.
Taller buildings can have an impact on aviation safety as a ‘physical obstacle’ because they may infringe upon designated flight paths for approaching and departing an airport. More information regarding tall buildings and aviation activity can be found here.
The aviation authorities have set a cap on the maximum building height at 274m above ground level in Brisbane so that they do not infringe federally mandated airspace. As it stands, aircraft are roughly directed along the river on some approaches for noise abatement reasons. Figure 1 below shows a photo of Brisbane’s skyline and the river.
Figure 1 Brisbane skyline
Proposed airspace revision plans
The initial plan is to increase the building cap to 300m in certain parts of the city, 26m more than the current maximum height. It is hoped that this, along with a cut to infrastructure charges for certain types of building development, will see an increase in high-rise buildings in the city centre.
It is true that physical obstructions can be hazards to aviation safety and therefore any revision of airspace would need to be carefully considered. Any proposed airpsace change will likely have to go through the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and this will take time before any decision is made.
 Brisbane’s towering ambition to ‘tinker’ with aviation airspace, Rosanne Barrett, The Australian. (Last accessed 05/03/15).