Vietnam bans drones from airport vicinities

By Viet Tuan   November 16, 2019 | 09:28 pm PT
Vietnam bans drones from airport vicinities
Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) will be banned within eight kilometers radius of Vietnamese airports. Photo by Shutterstock/Andy Tran.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the Ministry of National Defense to ban all drones within an eight-km radius of airports across the country.

The ban has been ordered after two planes, a Vietjet Air and a Tway Air aircraft, were recently suspected to have been hit by unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in Vietnam.

In Ho Chi Minh City, home to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, drones will be not allowed to operate in Tan Binh, Tan Phu, Go Vap and Phu Nhuan Districts.

In the Friday directive, Phuc also asked the Ministry of Transport to instruct the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation to take measures to manage airspace in the vicinity of airports to prevent drones from threatening aviation safety.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been tasked with tightening the illegal trade in drones and local authorities asked to manage, detect and prevent operations of drones near the airports.

An Airbus 321 of budget airline Vietjet Air flying from Saigon to Phu Quoc in Kien Giang Province had a dented nose cone when it landed on October 16.

Another aircraft, a Boeing B737 operated by South Korean airline Tway Air, was also found with a dented nose cone on landing in Saigon on September 19.

As there was no sign of birds hitting the planes in both cases and no hailstorm had happened during the flights, there is a possibility that the planes were hit by drones, the transport ministry said in a report last month.

PM Phuc also ordered the defense ministry to quickly identify the exact causes in two incidents, and report to him by the end of this month.

Last year, Vietnam's 21 state-run airports served 103.5 million passengers, up 11 percent year-on-year, and the figure is set to rise to 112 million this year, according to the Airports Corporation of Vietnam.

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