Emirates has become the first airline to be charged with breaching the overnight curfew on flights at Sydney Airport since Jetstar was prosecuted six years ago.
After an investigation, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport has decided to push for charges to be laid against the Dubai-based airline for three breaches of the curfew between late 2011 and January this year.
The airline faces a maximum fine of $550,000 for each breach of the curfew, which is designed to prevent commercial airlines flying between 11pm and 6am at the airport.
The department says the most recent breach occurred on January 8 when Emirates flight EK413 took off from the airport for Dubai at about 11.40pm - 40 minutes after the curfew takes effect.
Another Emirates flight, EK413, is said to have taken off about 11.45pm on December 16, 2011. The other charge relates to a breach by flight EK419 about 11.15pm on November 8, 2011.
Emirates is yet to enter a plea in the case, which is before the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney.
Lawyers for the airline sought more time on Tuesday to prepare its response because of the large amount of paperwork, which includes transcripts of the three flights.
The case is scheduled for a hearing on December 17.