Storm Usagi disrupts air traffic in Saigon

By Huu Nguyen   November 26, 2018 | 11:44 am GMT+7

Planes were unable to land or had to hover for a long time before touching down at Tan Son Nhat airport in Saigon Sunday night.

Tropical storm turned depression Usagi unleashed gusty winds and heavy rain on Saigon Sunday, causing air traffic bedlam at the Tan Son Nhat airport.

Around 40 flights were affected.

Passengers on a Thai Airways flight that had to return to Bangkok after failing to land in Tan Son Nhat on Sunday. Photo by VnExpress/Ha Nguyen

Passengers on a Thai Airways flight that had to return to Bangkok after failing to land in Tan Son Nhat on Sunday. Photo by VnExpress/Ha Nguyen

Many incoming and outgoing flights were delayed or diverted at the international airport Sunday night. These included those operated by Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific airlines.

It was reported that aircraft had to hover for a long time before landing, while some had to land at different airports.

A Thai Airways flight departing from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City returned to Thailand after it was not able to land even after hovering for 40 minutes above the airport.

Ha, the director of a communication company in Saigon who was a passenger on that flight, said: "Thai Airways arranged hotel and food for hundreds of passengers and re-scheduled the flight to 8:30 a.m. the next day."

An AirAsia flight from Bangkok that reached the Tan Son Nhat Airport at 9:00 p.m. also had to head back to Bangkok.

Data from Flightrada24, a Swedish service that shows real-time commercial aircraft flight information, shows air traffic congestion at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Thang

Data from Flightrada24, a Swedish service that shows real-time commercial aircraft flight information, shows air traffic congestion at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport Sunday night. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Thang

A Vietjet Air representative said many flights to and from Cam Ranh Airport near Nha Trang, Lien Khuong Airport near Da Lat, and Tan Son Nhat International Airport were affected by storm Usagi.

The representative added that to ensure safety, flight Hanoi to Nha Trang flight was diverted to Da Nang. The plane continued its journey after the weather got better and landed in Nha Trang at 5:05 p.m.

Due to heavy rain in the airport, a Vietjet flight from Hanoi and two flights from Hai Phong to Ho Chi Minh City were diverted to Da Nang and Can Tho, to wait for better weather to resume their journey.

A representative of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport said ensuring flight safety would be top priority. Air traffic congestion was inevitable because of the heavy rainfall.

Some places in the city received the record rainfall of 400mm Sunday night. HCMC's Tan Binh District, where the Tan Son Nhat airport is located, received rainfall of 407mm, the heaviest in the city's history, weather reports said.

Usagi, the ninth storm of the year to hit Vietnam, devolved into a tropical depression around Sunday noon after making landfall in Vung Tau, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, which neighbors HCMC.

One man was killed by a fallen tree in HCMC while more than 50 houses were collapsed and 46 boats were sunken or damaged across the southern region.

As of Sunday evening, rains triggered by Usagi had uprooted around 100 trees in Vung Tau and flooded many places in the central provinces of Ninh Thuan and Khanh Hoa. A part of the North-South Railway line in Ninh Thuan has been damaged by erosion, which has also caused landslides that have paralyzed traffic to Khanh Hoa's Cam Ranh International Airport.

This is Saigon on Sunday afternoon.

 
 
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